It's been awhile since any widespread layoffs at the Houston Chronicle, partly because there aren't enough people left to stock a widespread layoff.
The empty desks at 800 Texas just got a little emptier, as two of the paper's mainstays -- business columnist Loren Steffy and investigative reporter Terri Langford -- are leaving for other, presumably greener, pastures.
Steffy is teaming with some former colleagues from Bloomberg to put out white papers and op-ed columns for a Washington, D.C. think tank, and Langford is headed to the bucolic surroundings of New Jersey to become New York City-based public radio WNYC's investigative reporter for the Garden State.
Both of them tell Hair Balls they had no intentions of leaving the Chron until the specific opportunities came up.
"I had a really good opportunity to work with some close friends, and I felt I couldn't pass it up," Steffy says. "That said, it wasn't an easy decision. I have really loved writing a column for the Chronicle, and I still believe that there is no better city in which to write a business column than Houston."
"As for my decision to leave the Chronicle, there's no palace intrigue," Langford says. "My reasons are simple. The WNYC/New Jersey Public Radio job was just too great an opportunity to pass up. I'm thrilled for a chance to work in a new medium at the nation's largest public radio station covering New Jersey government, a state that easily challenges Texas for the title of 'Most Fascinating.'"
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Both reporters have won various honors during their time at the Chron and will be difficult to replace.
Steffy is staying in Houston, but Langford will have to move. Luckily for her, we have tapped our intimate store of New Jersey knowledge, having grown up there, to provide her with the gourmet tips of best pizza and mussels (Park Tavern in East Rutherford) and hot dogs (Rutt's Hut in Clifton.)
It's the least we can do.