2:33 pm Sep. 12, 2012
Two weeks after the abrupt departure of Sally Singer, The New York Times has found the person it wants to be the new editor of the paper's glossy style supplement, T magazine.
Sources familiar with the negotiation told Capital that Deborah Needleman, editor of The Wall Street Journal's style magazine, WSJ., has been offered the job.
It's unclear what the exact status of the deal is; sources cautioned that anything could still happen. And Needleman, reached on her cell phone, hung up before I could ask. Later, responding to an email about whether she'd accepted an offer from the Times, Needleman wrote: "That is not true." She did not immediately respond to follow-ups asking for confirmation that the offer was on the table, but we'll update if we hear back.
The Times declined to comment on the matter. A spokesperson for The Journal likewise did not immediately have a comment.
The timing, of course, is a bit awkward: It's Fashion Week, for which Needleman is WSJ.'s ambassador. But Needleman had been floated early on as a possible successor to Singer. And getting her would be a huge coup for the Times, which has been struggling to increase its advertising revenue with T as the Journal is making significant gains under Needleman with WSJ. The Journal magazine was launched as a major initiative of the company in 2008, after Rupert Murdoch took over the paper. Needleman, formerly editor of the late Conde Nast shopping title Domino, became the editor of WSJ. in 2010.
Both magazines are meant to bring new revenues to their parent publications with lucrative luxury advertising, commanding high prices for large, glossy pages full of high-end fashion and design photography that doesn't share space with the type of horrifying news from around the world that has often repelled luxury brands.
Times executive editor Jill Abramson reportedly gave a "dressing down" to Singer earlier this year. The former Vogue features director had taken the magazine in an edgier direction after replacing Stefano Tonchi in 2010, and ad sales had been slipping somewhat, whereas Needleman has been credited with turning WSJ. into a formidable competitor. In May, publisher Anthony Cenname told W.W.D. that the magazine saw a 51-percent ad-page bump during the second quarter of 2012; T was down 4 percent through May, according to data cited by W.W.D.
More recent data from Media Industry Newsletter shows that ad pages for the Aug. 19 issue of T, which publishes 15 times a year, were down about 4 percent from the same issue in 2011. The September issue of WSJ., which publishes 10 times a year, was up nearly 45 percent, according to MIN.
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