Memo Pad: Trailing Tina Brown… Speaking of the Web…

After 19 years at The New Yorker, Peter Boyer is going to work for Tina Brown again.

TRAILING TINA: After 19 years at The New Yorker, Peter Boyer is going to work for Tina Brown again. He worked for her at Vanity Fair and, in 1992, followed her to The New Yorker. “Tina brought me into magazine journalism,” he said. Boyer’s first byline at the magazine, a Talk of the Town piece about a character in Mort Zuckerman’s acquisition of the New York Daily News, appeared in her first issue.

“Once I saw Tina, talked to Tina, thought about jumping onto this ride — whatever it was going to be — it was just so exciting,” Boyer drawled in his Mississippi accent of the move to The Daily Beast. “I asked my wife, she said I could, and I was gone.”

This story first appeared in the February 1, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Peter Boyer is a terrific writer, and I wish him all the best,” said New Yorker editor David Remnick.

Boyer will continue to write long pieces for Brown’s Newsweek but said he was more excited to do some of “the shorter, faster stuff. I think The Beast is actually great. I find the prospect of doing that part of it very alluring,” he said. “Maybe I won’t a week from now.”

“I remember when I heard Howie [Kurtz] was leaving and going,” he continued, “what I first thought was, Why in the world is he doing that? And my second thought was, That’s pretty damn cool, actually.”

He declined to say how direct a role money played in his departure. “Tina has a healthy and admirable regard for the need of writers to earn a living,” he said. “I don’t think she’s gonna make that a big obstacle for people who want to come there.” He said Katrina Herron, “my dear great editor going back to the New York Times Magazine,” who also worked under Brown at Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, had signed up to come work for her again.

“The New Yorker is the best there is, and it is just a great joy to have been there,” Boyer said. “But writing a New Yorker story, every one, for me anyway, was like writing a book. I wrote an awful lot of them.”


TALKING OF THE WEB: Dexter Filkins’ first story as a foreign correspondent for The New Yorker appeared on the magazine’s “News Desk” blog on Sunday night. It was a 6,000-word post about corruption in the Afghani government viewed through the prism of Kabul Bank — not the type of story the magazine normally posts to its blogs first. After catching wind The New York Times’ James Risen and Alissa Rubin would have a story about corruption at the bank on the paper’s front page on Monday, Filkins, editor David Remnick, features director Daniel Zalewski and a small team of fact-checkers and other staff came into work on Sunday to prepare the post, according to one staffer. So much for the stately New Yorker piece that lands a week after the first newsbreak. Remnick declined to comment.

“I’m sure our reporters knew Dex was talking to the same sources,” wrote Times executive editor Bill Keller in an e-mail. “I assume that made them not want to dawdle. But we did not know when the NYer piece was due to run.” When reached for comment Monday afternoon, Risen was not aware his former colleague Filkins had published a piece on the same topic. Filkins’ piece will still run in the magazine next week with any changes that arise from further fact-checking and editing. Keller added that there was no communication between The Times and The New Yorker. “Presumably they saw it when we posted it on the Web site,” he wrote of the Times’ post, which went up at 9:14 p.m. Sunday.

— Z.T.

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