10:11 am Sep. 27, 2012
As expected, Deborah Needleman has been named editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine.
Capital first reported earlier this month, during Fashion Week, that Needleman, who is leaving her editor post at rival style mag WSJ., had been offered the job. The Times announced Thursday morning that she has accepted the offer.
“Deborah is a creative and innovative editor with an impeccable sense of style and design," said Times executive editor Jill Abramson in a statement. "As we look to expand and extend T and continue to evolve it for our loyal and sophisticated New York Times audience, we will rely on Deborah’s broad range of experience and creative energy. She is coming on board to strengthen the franchise and re-imagine its future on all platforms. Given the depth of her talent and experience, I am certain that T is in very good hands.”
Needleman replaces Sally singer, under whom T struggled to grow ad pages while veering into edgier territory content-wise. (Glossy luxury supplements like T and WSJ. pretty much only exist to make money for their parent brands.)
Singer left the magazine abruptly at the end of August, and the Times immediately had its eye on Needleman as her successor.
When we reached Needleman for comment earlier this month, she deflected questions about the T offer, but sources at the time said it was pretty much a fait accompli.
Yet it took another few weeks to finalize the agreement, or at least for the parties involved to be ready to announce it. WSJ. saw a steady rise in ad pages during Needleman's two years there, and its parent publication, The Wall Street Journal, whose Off Duty section was also under Needleman's care, was said to be lobbying hard not to lose her.
And so the old-fashioned newspaper war between the Journal and the Times appears to be heating up again: After Capital's Sept. 12 report on the T negotiations, the Journal fired off a press release announcing that it would increase WSJ.'s frequency to 11 issues next year and 12 issues by 2014, making it a monthly. (T publishes 15 times a year.) Journal managing editor Robert Thomson called it "the benchmark by which all glossy magazines are judged" and publisher Anthony Cennane said it was "a core outlet for marketers looking to reach the most affluent and influential audience possible."
But a statement from Needleman was conspicuously absent.
Losing Needleman, a former Conde Nast editor largely credited with making WSJ. successful, is a significant blow. The question now is who the Journal will tap to replace her.
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