Jake Silverstein named editor of New York Times Magazine

Jake Silverstein. (Mayborn School of Journalism)
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Jake Silverstein is the new editor of The New York Times Magazine, staff was informed in a meeting this afternoon.

Capital first reported several weeks ago that Silverstein, the editor of Texas Monthly, was in the running for the job. Since then, sources said he was one of two finalists in the home stretch.

Dylan Byers of our sister site, POLITICO, first reported this afternoon that Silverstein had been given the job. Times media editor Peter Lattman confirmed the news in a tweet.

"This announcement is about more than a dynamic new leader. Jake’s appointment signals a rethinking of the Magazine," Times executive editor Jill Abramson and managing editor Dean Baquet wrote in a memo to staff obtaind by Capital.

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"It will be more fully integrated in the newsroom and will play a significant role in the big news stories of the day," they wrote. "We will add staff, including some of our best writers and provocative voices. The Magazine will be redesigned, making it more beguiling, displaying more of the best riches of the Times."

The appointment caps months of speculation about who would take the reins at the title following the departure late last year of Hugo Lindgren.

Silverstein is an eyebrow-raising choice that brings a bit of Southwestern swagger to a position traditionally held by New York media insiders. His stewardship of Texas Monthly has given him significant cachet. Since he was named editor in 2008, the magazine has won two of the 11 National Magazine Awards it's been nominated for.

Silverstein, a 38-year-old former Fulbright Scholar and contributing editor for Harper’s, was chosen over two well-liked insiders, deputy Times Magazine editors Joel Lovell and Lauren Kern. He did not immediately return a call or email.

In an interview with the Times, Silverstein said he will begin later this spring and will move from Austin, where Texas Monthly is based, to New York with his wife and two young sons.

“I think this is a remarkable moment for the magazine to commit to the kind of long-form impactful journalism that has made the magazine one of the most influential publications throughout its history,” he told the Times.

The full memo from Baquet and executive editor Jill Abramson is below:

Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that Jake Silverstein, editor-in-chief of Texas Monthly for the past six years, will become the next editor of The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

During Jake's tenure, Texas Monthly has been known for its literary narratives and ambitious journalism. Under his leadership, the magazine received twelve National Magazine Award nominations and won four times, once for General Excellence, once for Public Interest, and twice for Feature Writing. One of those feature writing awards recognized a two-part series on a man wrongly accused of murder. Jake also knows the tasty pleasures of magazines; this week Texas Monthly was nominated for a National Magazine Award for a story on the 50 Best Barbecue Joints in the world.

This announcement is about more than a dynamic new leader. Jake’s appointment signals a rethinking of the Magazine. It will be more fully integrated in the newsroom and will play a significant role in the big news stories of the day. We will add staff, including some of our best writers and provocative voices. The Magazine will be redesigned, making it more beguiling, displaying more of the best riches of the Times. The traditional magazine forms will continue --- narratives, deep profiles, investigative reporting, essays, photography -- and others will be invented. We will also begin to engage readers in a more active, on-going dialogue through social media and other means.

Jake will work closely with Matt Purdy and others in the newsroom on determining the best ways to give readers consistently rich and powerful multi-media storytelling on a variety of platforms.

This builds on the Times leadership in storytelling, multimedia innovation, and the fine work the magazine and the paper have done over the years.

Before taking over Texas Monthly, Jake was a reporter for the Big Bend Sentinel in Marfa, Texas, a Fulbright Scholar, and a contributing editor for Harper’s. His own stories have appeared in Best American Travel Writing, and he is the author of a collection entitled “Nothing Happened And Then It Did: A Chronicle in Fact And Fiction.”

-Jill and Dean