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Alt-weekly alum in the news

Possibly the best food writing job in the world — the position of restaurant critic for The New York Times once held by Frank Bruni — has gone to a journalist with roots in alternative newsweeklies. Sam Sifton, who comes from his desk as The Times’ cultural editor, was named by Executive Editor Bill Keller as Bruni’s replacement. But before writing for the Gray Lady Sifton cut his teeth at the New York Press, an upstart competitor to the Village Voice, where he worked from 1990 to 1998 and rose to the position of managing editor before founding Talk magazine and joining the staff of The Times in 2001. Before he begins his new job, he is required to take a warm-up eating tour in the restaurants of his choice. According to a commenter in The Times, Bruni took his in Hong Kong and France. — BC

Florida newspaper upset about reporter’s arrest

The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla. is contemplating legal action against the city of Naples for arresting one of its reporters covering a football game. News-Press sports reporter David Dorsey says that he was at the game at Fleischmann Park last weekend and while trying to join in on media interviews with Deion Sanders was arrested by Naples police officers and restrained on the scene. Police reported that they confronted Dorsey after a complaint from a member of Sanders’ staff and after Dorsey didn’t provide adequate credentials he was asked to leave the field. When Dorsey refused orders and tried to gain access to Sanders he was arrested and held at the scene. Sanders’ mother identified Dorsey and informed police he was allowed to be there and he was released. The News-Press and its attorney Steve Carta claim that police were discriminating against their paper by restraining Dorsey. News- Press representatives say they have contacted Naples Mayor Bill Barnett, City Manager Bill Moss and Police Chief Tom Weschler informing them of the publication’s intent to sue, and they hope to settle the issue without legal action. — LC

Learning to love Michael Savage

If there’s one media person that has inspired boiling rage in me, it would have to be Michael Savage. He doesn’t make me feel withering contempt, like those Fox News schlubs do, but real anger. Anger, I suspect, because I have a sinking suspicion that this Savage guy is a little smarter than I am. Yes, if there is one person whom I genuinely feel is a true demagogue and a dangerous voice on the right, it’s Savage. So, how to explain reading Kelefa Sanneh’s profile (“Party of one”) in the Aug. 3 The New Yorker, and suddenly becoming overwhelmed with tenderness, affection and respect for this rabid talk-radio personality. Let me first say that I view Savage as an artist and a personality, and I believe that his genius does not exactly lie in his political ideas. I’ll leave it to Sanneh — whose politics lean to the left, I think it’s safe to say — to fully describe what makes Savage such an intellectual wonder. Sanneh describes Savage as “a marvelous storyteller, a quirky thinker, and an incorrigible free-associater. He sometimes sounds less like a political commentator than the star of a riveting and unusually vivid one-man play (he frequently dumps callers, even sympathetic ones, after about a sentence and a half), or a fugitive character out of a Philip Roth novel. Savage seems resigned to the fact that the majority of Americans, including many of his own listeners, just don’t get it — just don’t get him — and never will. He is a permanent resident of the political wilderness, sending daily dispatches back to the diseased civilization that the rest of us call home.” — JG

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