Claude Brodesser-Akner is no longer with the Star-Ledger.
The reason is not immediately clear. Brodesser-Akner has not responded to e-mails and Twitter direct messages, and the Star-Ledger isn’t saying why one of their senior political reporters has departed.
“I appreciate you reaching out, but we have no comment,” said Kevin Whitmer, the vice president for content at New Jersey Advance Media.
Brodesser-Akner’s last story appeared on the NJ.com website on April 16. Now he’s disappeared without a trace.
When the Star-Ledger wins an award – any award, really, since it’s been fourteen years since their last Pulitzer Prize – they make a gigantic deal about it. That’s why their silence on the circumstances of Brodesser-Akner’s exit makes the matter even more mysterious.
On Saturday night, Brodesser-Akner took home a New York Emmy Award for his work at the Star-Ledger. Not only didn’t the newspaper crow about their victory, but the usual social media “attaboys” from the rest of the news team were visibly absent.
Brodesser-Akner was a high-profile hire when the Star-Ledger brought the former TMZ and Variety reporter in from Los Angeles to cover then-Gov. Chris Christie in 2014.
“Those of you who know me well know this is about as close as it gets to me to winning Powerball Lotto,’ he wrote on his Facebook page when he got the Star-Ledger gig.
Newspapers don’t hesitate to question private sector companies on personnel issues, especially when the individual is a public figure, but when it involves them, the media often invoke their “one set of rules for us, one set of rules for everybody else” carveout.
To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, they know how to ask questions, but they don’t know how to answer them.
On January 1, the New Jersey Globe asked The (Bergen) Record if they planned to hire a new Capitol Hill reporter to replace Herb Jackson, but they have not yet responded. They have declined to answer questions on buyout packages – they told employees not to discuss the isuse publicly — and layoffs. The Record has not offered coverage of a hostile takeover bid of their parent company, Gannett.