Update 2: AOL confirms that it hired Saul.
Update: The rumour is Saul is going to AOL
Earlier: New York Times tech writer Saul Hansell is taking the company’s buyout offer, a source tells us.
Saul ran the Times’s tech blog Bits until earlier this fall, when gadget-guy Nick Bilton took over.
When that transition took place, Saul posted the following to his personal blog:
As some readers of the Times may have noticed, I’ve got a new role. I’m now covering telecommunications, both for the Bits blog and for what we refer to as “the paper,” which really means longer articles both in print and online.
The immediate reason behind the switch was simple and common enough: The Times needed a body, and I was there. Matt Richtel, who has been covering telecom (with Jenna Worthham who continues to do so), is now working on some special projects. So someone needed to write about telephone, cable and related companies.
When Damon Darlin, the technology editor, asked if I was interested in filling in for Matt, I leaped at the chance. That was a change for me. A few years ago, I had turned down an offer of the telecom beat. I thought that the companies were too big and slow. I had already spend enough of my life covering banks.
But over the past two years editing Bits, I have come to become very interested in so many issues related to communications networks and the devices that connect to them. Apple’s iPhone and everything spawned has been the single most frequent topic on Bits. I also wrote about last year’s auction of the radio spectrum now abandoned by analogue television, giving me an introduction to covering the Federal Communications Commission. And earlier this year, I got fed up with people hearing about how broadband was faster and cheaper in other countries, and I wrote a series of posts explaining what is and isn’t different about the United States.
I’m defining the telecommunications beat as business that moves information from here to there, whether by wires or radio waves. That includes cable and satellite TV companies, many of which increasingly resemble phone companies.