New York Times building Manhattan

The New York Times has a new staff writer on its Styles desk, plucked from an unlikely place.

Ever since Matthew Schneier left for New York Magazine in May, the position had been left unfilled, but Choire Sicha, editor of the Styles section, will announce in a staff memo today that Jessica Testa, formerly a reporter at BuzzFeed, will beginning Monday fill that gap, focusing on fashion.

Testa started at BuzzFeed in 2012, and departed earlier this year when BuzzFeed News shuttered its national desk. She’s written about cold case DNA crime solvers, child marriage laws and women framed for crimes they didn’t commit. “None of this will prepare her for the fashion industry,” Sicha joked.

Vanessa Friedman, the Times’ fashion director and chief fashion critic, explained to WWD that they were attracted to her experience as a reporter, rather than her fashion stripes.

“What was important to us is her experience as a reporter, as a writer, as part of the team and all of that is really stellar,” she said. “We had an amazing pool of applicants and it was a really difficult decision and it took a long time, but in the end we just thought it was a really interesting proposition. She was someone who would definitely bring a fresh point of view and a really deep skill-set to the team.”

Testa got her start at BuzzFeed on the breaking news desk, and previously handled breaking news at The Arizona Republic. She studied journalism at Arizona State University.

Styles is also looking for an experienced fashion news editor to work with Testa and the rest of the team, alongside Anita Leclerc, fashion editor, and Friedman.

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