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JUMPING INTO THE AWARDS GAME: WSJ. Magazine editor Deborah Needleman is ripping a page out of the Richard Beckman playbook: On Oct. 27, WSJ. Magazine will host its first awards ceremony at MoMa to honor so-called Innovators of the Year. Awards are being given out in diverse and somewhat incongruous categories: fashion, art, food, philanthropy, design, technology and architecture. But, Needleman said, that’s done by design.
“The business side was, like, ‘Is there something you’d like to do?’ And it kind of made sense,” she said. “Of course everybody has an awards ceremony and I was never more aware of than I am right this minute producing one, how many there are out there, but innovation is sort of — I hate this word — the DNA of the magazine. Everything we do in the magazine is about influence, creativity and innovation.
This story first appeared in the October 20, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We’re not a straight-up fashion magazine, we’re not a straight-up business magazine,” she continued. “I feel like making a magazine is a bit like making a community — and our community is made up of art, fashion, food, philanthropy, design, architecture, and those are the natural categories for the event.”
At the ceremony, Marc Jacobs will present Katie Grand the award for fashion innovator of the year. Marina Abramovic will accept the award for Ai Weiwei — the Chinese artist imprisoned and subsequently released by the Chinese government who was recently named by ArtReview as the most powerful artist in the world — for best art innovator. Jonathan Safran Foer will present the food innovator award to — wait for it — Chipotle founder Steve Ells. Other winners include Elon Musk (technology), Joris Laarman (design) and Bjarke Ingels (architecture). Bill Gates and Warren Buffett got the philanthropy award, but will not be at the ceremony.
WSJ’s Innovators issue comes out Oct. 29.
In other WSJ news, the magazine’s deputy editor, Michael Caruso, is leaving after arriving just four months ago to become editor in chief of Smithsonian Magazine.
“He brought good stories and writers to the magazine, and he is an excellent editor,” said Needleman. “And I’m happy he’s got this new opportunity to run his own show.”
Needleman said she’s not sure if she’s going to hire a replacement. Since Ruth Altchek was promoted to editor of Off Duty in the late summer, Needleman has been spending most of her time with the monthly magazine.