Not Your Same Old Section
Ever working to rise out of mediocrity, the Austin American-Statesman has moved a fairly high-profile name to the top of its entertainment masthead. Jeff Salamon, formerly of The Village Voice and most recently deputy features editor at the Statesman, has been named editor of the daily's Arts section and its weekly Chronicle imitation, XLent.
Salamon's move, which will take effect in June, is part of a general restructuring of the Statesman's arts and features department. Current XL editor Anne Smith will become executive features editor; former Statesman arts editor Ed Crowell began a year's leave of absence in December to write a book.
Salamon himself took a year's leave of absence four years ago from the Voice, where he had been a senior editor, and moved to Austin "to go someplace different ... to live someplace where I didn't know anybody." He decided to stay, resigned from the Voice, and made a living freelancing for publications such as Rolling Stone, Spin, Texas Monthly, and even The Austin Chronicle.
Asked if he was hired to put pressure on a certain local weekly, Salamon said, "As far as I know, I was not put here to go after the Chronicle. I was put here to make things better. I come from New York, where there are four newspapers, including three dailies. If we make things great here, if it makes Louis [Black, the Chronicle editor] think he has to make the Chronicle better, great. I don't have that sort of competitive streak in me. I just want great newspapering in this town."
Asked how Michael Corcoran -- whom the Statesman publicly chastised in March by putting his gossip column on hiatus ("Naked City," March 31) -- would figure into his purview, Salamon said, "I think Corcoran is great. He's one of the best stylists in town, one of the best critics and cultural observers." However, Salamon didn't know the status of Corcoran's column, or when it might return to the Statesman's pages, "and I wouldn't comment if I did." Corcoran has meanwhile been working for the paper as a music journalist.