Abramson to name Lindgren’s replacement by year’s end; inside and outside candidates being considered

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The guessing game about who will succeed Hugo Lindgren as editor of The New York Times Magazine is in full swing today, both inside the company's Eighth Avenue headquarters and out.

In the Times' first public statement since we broke the news about Lindgren's departure last night, executive editor Jill Abramson told Capital through a spokesperson: "The New York Times Magazine is a treasured part of our news report and has vast reserves of talent. There will be a new editor by year's end and we will be looking at candidates from both inside and outside the newsroom."

Chatter among insiders and sources close to the paper appears to be focussing on two names so far: Sam Sifton and Bruce Headlam.

Of course it's still early days, and none of our sources could confirm whether conversations with any potential candidates have already taken place, but neither Sifton nor Headlam seem far-fetched.

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Part of the Sifton speculation stems from the fact that Abramson recently removed Sifton as national editor and assigned him to develop what she described in a July memo as "an immersive digital magazine experience, a lean back read that will include new, multimedia narratives in the tradition of Snow Fall and last weekend’s compelling account of the Arizona fire, as well as some of the best reads published during the previous week."

At the time, Abramson said this would be Sifton's "first assignment" in his new role. But in fact, Sifton, who was previously the Times' restaurant critic and its culture editor before that, has been focusing on the other assignment Abramson outlined for him over the summer: a new food product.

Sources familiar with the matter told Capital that Sifton's first priority is to launch a new vertical devoted to cooking, recipes and food, and that the interactive magazine is still in the "ideas" stage.

Sifton declined to comment. But it is perhaps worth noting he was reportedly present for Lindgren's teary Tuesday afternoon staff address.

As for Headlam, he was one of the candidates vying for the job the last time the position opened up, back in 2010 following Gerry Marzorati's exit. (Joe Nocera, who is now a columnist, was another one, sources said.)

Having been running the media desk since 2008, and with one of his star reporters now bailing for CNN, perhaps it would be a good time for Headlam to consider a career move as well?

"No comment," he said when reached by phone.

Whoever takes the reins, it's likely Abramson will encourage significant changes to the existing product. Lindgren, after all, was hired by her predecessor, Bill Keller, and she is said to have been unhappy with the direction of the magazine under his watch.