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Sports Editor Joe Sexton Leaving The New York Times

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New York Times sports editor Joe Sexton is expected to leave the paper for ProPublica as a voluntary buyout deadline approaches Thursday afternoon, sources tell The Huffington Post. (Update: It's official.)

Sexton did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment. ProPublica president Richard Tofel and editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday night.

Last month, executive editor Jill Abramson announced that the paper was offering buyouts geared toward managers and senior staffers, with hopes that 30 Times staffers would accept. If that target number isn't reached, there could be layoffs.

Several high-ranking Times staffers have accepted buyouts, including managing editor John Geddes and culture editor Jon Landman.

The departure of Sexton would be a major loss for the Times. Sexton joined the Times in 1987 as a sports reporter, later working as a metro reporter from 1994 to 1998. He served as an enterprise editor in sports, deputy editor for investigations in metro, and in 2006, became the paper's metro editor.

Recently, Sexton has been credited with helping conceive an ambitious, multimedia story on skiers and snowboarders trapped after an avalanche in the Cascade Mountains.

UPDATE 2: ProPublica announced Thursday morning that Sexton will be a senior editor. Here's what Engelberg had to say:

"Joe Sexton is one of the finest editors in the business," said Engelberg. "His steady hand and inspirational leadership have been behind some of the biggest stories in New York and the world of sports in the past decade. His Metro staff's reporting led to the resignation of then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, and their subsequent work forced Spitzer's successor, David Paterson, to abandon his bid for election. Sexton's tenure as sport editor was marked by enterprise and innovation. John Branch's devastating series on a hockey enforcer, "Punched Out," was a Pulitzer finalist last year. And the sports department's work with the paper's graphics and multimedia teams last month produced "Snow Fall," a project that set a new standard for online storytelling.

"We are delighted to add a journalist with Joe's track record and passion for accountability journalism to our editorial team.

This headline was changed after Sexton news became official, via Romenesko