Since new T editor-in-chief,Deborah Needleman, has only been at her new job for all of three days, she hasn’t really been divulging much about her plans for the magazine to the press yet.
However, WWD has learned from “sources” that she definitely has some plans–and demands. In fact, the trade alleges that Needleman “started negotiating with the Times while Singer was still holding court on the sixth floor.”
One such negotiation may have been over money:
Journal managing editor Robert Thomson told her he’d match any offer from the Times, and, sources said, the Times had to dip into its discretionary budget to get her — a move that will not endear management to the Times union, still in the middle of an endless contract battle.
Her other alleged demands–and it’s unknown whether any of them were met–include granting T its own publisher, separate from the Times; and publishing issues monthly, instead of 15 per year. The former, WWD points out, would place less pressure on Needleman to increase ad sales. That is interesting because back when Sally Singer was at the helm, there were rumors that Times EIC Jill Abramson was not happy with the ad pages Singer was (or wasn’t) bringing in.
Of all these rumors, what seems the most likely to be true is that Needleman has brought in two WSJ staffers: fashion features director Whitney Vargas and creative director Patrick Li, who resigned from WSJ on Friday.
WWD also speculates on who might replace Needleman at WSJ: GQ deputy editor Michael Hainey; Financial Times fashion editor Vanessa Friedman; and Rachel Johnson, editor of British weekly The Lady.
Earlier this week, Needleman confirmed to the Daily that she already knew who would be on her first cover for T, which gives credence to the rumor that she’d been in talks with the magazine for a while before her official appointment.