Danielle Mattoon named New York Times culture editor; Sia Michel promoted to Arts & Leisure editor

New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson’s note to her staff:

Dear Colleagues,

Danielle Mattoon is our new Culture editor.

And Sia Michel is the new editor for Arts & Leisure.

Danielle comes to the top job most immediately from Travel, to which she brought an impresario’s spirit and a keen eye for photography, design and multimedia, traits that will come in handy as she oversees the daily Arts report, Weekend and Arts & Leisure.

Danielle Mattoon

Danielle Mattoon

Danielle sent Dwight Garner seaward on the Queen Mary 2; Alessandra Stanley on a mother-daughter spring break trip to Florida; Frank Bruni to chase history in Ireland; Chip McGrath to England and the Netherlands on the track of our founding forefathers; and Charles Isherwood to Switzerland simply because what could be more delicious? (“I’ve never really seen the point of Switzerland,” Charles wrote.) Along the way, she built an impressive roster of outside voices as contributors as well, including Paul Theroux, A.A. Gill and Pico Iyer.

But Danielle’s heart is in Culture. And with a well-loved past in the department as the deputy editor of Arts & Leisure, she is no stranger to the desk. These qualities made her stand out in a very strong field of candidates. Danielle edited many of the cover stories during her time on A&L and worked closely with our critics – notably Alessandra, along with Holland Cotter, Charles Isherwood, and the Jons, both Caramanica and Pareles – and reporters, including Debbie Sontag, Patrick Healy, Robin Pogrebin and Carol Vogel, to make the section full of news and imagination.

Before her first stint in Culture, Danielle was in Styles, where she says Trip Gabriel taught her how to edit a news article. Styles was, after all, her first newspaper job, which she came to after stints at Talk magazine, Rolling Stone, Details and The New Yorker.

Sia joined The Times in 2007, also from magazines, after a year freelancing for us as a pop critic. Before that, she spent almost a decade at Spin, starting as a reporter and emerging as editor in chief after postings as executive editor, editor and staff writer. She became deputy editor of Arts & Leisure in 2010.

Sia Michel

Sia Michel

Her career began at SF Weekly in San Francisco, where she worked as a reporter and pop music editor, covering the emergence of gangsta rap and grunge. Her first big break came there, when Ann Powers, then of the Village Voice and later to come to The Times, assigned her to cover the death of Jerry Garcia. Her byline was misspelled.

Sia succeeds Scott Veale, who has had a distinguished run as A&L editor for five years and has injected the section with beauty and energy. He will soon be tackling a new editing role.