MEDIA
03/02/2011 09:05 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Frank Rich: 'Nothing' Could Have Kept Me At The New York Times

Frank Rich spoke out about his surprise jump from the New York Times to New York Magazine on Tuesday, saying that "nothing" could have kept him at the paper he has called home for 31 years.

Rich will now write a monthly column for New York and edit what the magazine's editor Adam Moss is calling a new kind of magazine section. And in Moss, he will be reunited with a close friend and editorial partner of nearly 25 years.

But the op-ed slot at the Times is a position legions of writers dream of having. The decision to give up such a prime piece of journalistic real estate such as Rich has had at the Times was a shocker. Some, such as Slate's Jack Shafer, said they could not understand the move. "Unless the deal came with Bloombergian bags of cash, it makes no sense," Shafer wrote on Tuesday.

As Rich put it to Women's Wear Daily's John Koblin, though, money wasn't the issue. Rich said he was simply feeling boxed in at the Times.

"As much as I love the Times, there was no way for me to reinvent myself at the Times," Rich said. "I've been a critic, I've been a columnist at the magazine, a senior writer writing pieces for the well of the magazine, and then did both kinds of op-ed columns."

And Rich was emphatic that, once he decided to leave the paper, there was no changing his mind.

"There's nothing I wanted," he said. "There's nothing I wanted from them. They've been nothing but great...I don't want to be an editor. I don't want to be a manager at the Times."

This echoed comments that Rich made to The Wrap on Tuesday. He told the site that he was "incredibly itchy" and longing to do something different. The Times, he said, had already gone above and beyond in allowing him his weekly, 1,500-word column.

"There was no other way to stretch it," he said. "And I felt it was important [to move] while I'm still enjoying this, and have not burned out."