Ever since Hugo Lindgren announced his plans to step down as editor in chief of the Times‘ Sunday magazine at the end of the year, there’s been much speculation about who will replace him. The answer, for now, is no one.
Jill Abramson, executive editor of the Times, sent out a memo to staff Thursday announcing that the magazine will be undergoing a three-month review, spearheaded by managing editor Dean Baquet and T magazine editor Deborah Needleman (formerly the editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal‘s style magazine, WSJ., and Conde Nast’s Domino).
Abramson says the Times needs more time to clarify “how the magazine relates to the rest of our news report and how it can be the most distinctive, edifying, pleasurable part of our news offerings.” Specifically, Abramson wants to determine “how to make the magazine the fount of our richest, most immersive multimedia reading”; “which long reads belong in the A book and which might fare better with editing and presentation in the magazine”; and whether there should be more dedicated staff writers (versus freelancers). These are issues she doesn’t want to leave to a new editor; rather, she wants them solved before someone new is brought on board.
They’re interesting questions. I for my part have never quite known where to peg the Sunday magazine. It is a news magazine, but it has has never felt particularly Timesian (if you’ll allow the expression) in its approach to storytelling — it often feels like a hybrid between Time magazine and the Times‘ Styles section. With Basquet’s deep sense of the Times‘ storytelling approach, coupled with Needleman’s strong track record for inventing (and reinventing) magazines, perhaps we’ll get something quite unique out of the mix.
For now, the magazine will continue to publish on Sundays under the direction of its two deputy editors, Lauren Kern and Joel Lovell.
Abramson may be delaying an appointment at the magazine, but the Times‘s Styles editor Stuart Emmrich has wasted no time in naming a replacement for outgoing Styles reporter Eric Wilson: On Thursday, Emmrich announced that Deadspin reporter John Koblin will be assuming the role.