David Haskell, an insider who has been an editor at New York magazine since 2007, was tapped on Wednesday to succeed Adam Moss as editor-in-chief of the magazine and its related websites.
Moss stunned the publishing world with the announcement Tuesday that he was stepping down effective March 31. The 61-year-old was the longest-serving editor in the storied magazine’s history, snagging more than 40 National Magazine Awards for the print edition and the web verticals that include the Cut, Intelligencer, the Strategist, Vulture, Grub Street and the home site of NewYorkmag.com.
Moss said he informed CEO Pam Wasserstein that he wanted to step down in September — one month after she announced that New York Media was exploring strategic options including a possible sale.
Haskell, a 12-year veteran of the magazine who has been its editor for business and strategy since 2016, will start April 1.
“When Adam told me that he’d be stepping down, it was quickly apparent to me that David should be the person to succeed him, and I’m thrilled that he accepted the challenge,” Wasserstein said in a statement. “He is a brilliant editor, boundlessly creative and always inventive in the service of journalism.”
In his most recent role at New York Media, Haskell secured a four-book deal for New York magazine with Simon & Schuster, a podcast and a T-shirt line for The Cut fashion site. He also engineered a collaboration between the Vulture site and TruTv, while helping to expand the Strategist print section into a web vertical.
Prior to joining New York, the Yale-educated Haskell was an editor at Topic magazine, which he co-founded as a graduate student at Cambridge University and brought to New York in 2004.
He also has a sideline as a distiller, founding the Kings County Distillery in 2009 with a college friend Colin Spoelman. They won the American Distilling Institute’s Distillery of the Year honors in 2016 and co-authored “The Kings County Distillery Guide of Urban Moonshining and Dead Distillers.”
Wasserstein described him in her note to staffers as a “zealous champion of the quirky, delightful things we make here, a generous colleague and he recognizes a fantastic editorial product.”
The challenges for Haskell will be to stabilize print while keeping web traffic growing despite the imposition of a modified paywall that started the last week of November. Up until that time, comScore said that its number of unique monthly visitors in November 2018 was up 46.5 percent, to 37.4 million, compared with a year earlier.
The paywall costs $5 a month or $50 annually. For $70, subscribers can get the print edition and access to the website.
On the print side, the company has had to make a costly boost of the number of free issues it passes out to around an average of 93,724 per issue — about 23 percent of its circulation — in order to satisfy the 400,000 circulation level it promises advertisers it will deliver with each issue.
It had newsstand sales of only 7,348 per issue for the six months ending June 30, 2018, according to the Alliance for Audited Media, with paid print subscriptions of 288,141 and digital subscriptions of 15,454.
The Wasserstein family has owned the title since financier Bruce Wasserstein acquired it for $55 million in 2006 and continued to own it after he passed away suddenly in 2009.
Pam Wasserstein stepped in as chairwoman in 2016. There were few serious suitors and sources now think the Wasserstein family will continue to run it for the foreseeable future.
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