Today I received the following email from Alan Schwarz:
My move out of Sports has been in the works since December. After four years of covering concussions — and after my entire 20-year career being spent in Sports, mostly baseball — I requested a new challenge, and the Times masthead was wonderfully supportive, to the point that they encouraged me to tackle one of the more important beats on the paper, National Education. I did not make the switch until July 5 because there were many loose ends to be tied up — the Duerson situation, some helmet things, some other non-concussion stories, and various personnel shuffling. I also took some time off to recharge my batteries. But the wheels began turning on this in late 2010, and were essentially rolling by February.
The break is clean — I am no longer, officially or unofficially, part of the Sports department. Of course I will contribute things here and there, as I do to other sections — for example, the essay about my son, and the obit on John Mackey. But I have moved — mentally and physically, given my new desk on the third floor – to National Education.
It is not for me to say what the Sports department will do regarding concussions and other head-injury/football matters in the future. Mine was never any sort of concussion “beat” — I just did the work and pursued it with my superiors’ support and guidance, like dozens of other reporters at the paper. You’ll notice I did a lot of other work (baseball, Paralympics, etc.) interspersed during my four years; concussions was my prime focus when it made sense, which was obviously rather often. I am extremely confident that the subject will be covered just as skillfully in my absence.
My leaving Sports was a promotion, not an exile – it was my decision alone, facilitated by a masthead that wanted to reward my work with the prestigious challenge of National
Education. They couldn’t have been nicer about it.
Hope this helps. Take care.
Thanks. I’ll post your statement. Happy trails. Whether it’s known as a beat or anything else, I hope The Times carries forward well the important work you pioneered.