Longtime New York Times chief television critic Alessandra Stanley is returning to reporting.

In a memo sent to staff Wednesday, executive editor Dean Baquet said Stanley would switch desks after 12 years writing about TV and report on economic inequality in America. He did not address whether Stanley’s position as TV critic would be filled.

Baquet said this is a new beat for the newspaper, and one which will allow Stanley to take an “interdisciplinary look at the way the richest of the rich” are “rewiring” the nation’s institutions, including universities, philanthropies, museums, sports franchises and politics, among others.

“This is a subject both intensely timely and well suited to Alessandra’s skills as an observer, reporter and writer — one that has fascinated her, she says, since she wrote about the first generation of Russian oligarchs as a foreign correspondent in the mid-1990s. Now, she’ll be reporting on what she describes as the ‘psychology, rituals, costs and contradictions’ of a new generation of American titans,” Baquet wrote. “Her work will add to The Times’s ongoing reporting on inequality in all its forms. More announcements will come on that front.”

In December, Baquet told WWD that the two big stories for the paper is the aftermath of September 11 and the economic disparity in America.

“I think the other story is the divide between rich and poor, which is not a new thought. That’s partly the story of Ferguson, that’s partly the story of race in America, that’s partly the story of how blacks and whites regard the police departments, that’s partly the story of how people interact with universities and get into universities, it’s partly the story of Detroit, it’s partly the story of what kind of city New York is going to be, as Manhattan becomes increasingly expensive,” he offered. “Those are the two uberstories. I think they are going to be indirectly or directly issues in the presidential campaign. I think those are the two big stories of our day.”

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