The revolving door of the media industry never stops. Here, WWD rounds up some notable moves of late.
First up is The New York Times where there has been a lot of changes over the past couple of weeks, including metro editor Cliff Levy being promoted to deputy managing editor with oversight of the audio department after the “Caliphate” podcast failure. In December, The Times issued a correction following the emergence that the main subject of “Caliphate” was discovered to have been a fraud and more recently, Michael Barbaro, the host of the wildly popular “The Daily,” podcast apologized after a number of reporters said he contacted them about their coverage of the “Caliphate” podcast, with the goal of trying to influence their reporting. The Times also faced criticism for not disclosing that Barbaro, who interviewed executive editor Dean Baquet about the “Caliphate” fallout, is in a relationship with Lisa Tobin, its executive producer. “Among his focuses will be developing new procedures to vet ambitious audio series,” Dean Baquet said in a staff memo of Levy’s new role. The position will be temporary and Levy, who has been in charge of metro since 2018 and was a one time Moscow correspondent for the paper, will subsequently move on to a broader role.
Also at the Gray Lady, Kathleen Kingsbury has been made the permanent head of the opinion section. In June, she was named acting editorial page editor through the November election, following the resignation of James Bennet over the controversial Sen. Tom Cotton op-ed that caused outrage among many staffers and readers.
Both promotions followed reports over the weekend that Lauren Wolfe, a freelance editor for The Times’ “Live” page, had been fired from the paper, with social media speculation that it was due to her tweet stating “I have chills,” next to a photo of President Joe Biden’s plane landing at Joint Base Andrews. The Times said that “there’s a lot of inaccurate information circulating on Twitter.” “For privacy reasons, we don’t get into the details of personnel matters, but we can say that we didn’t end someone’s employment over a single tweet. Out of respect for the individuals involved, we don’t plan to comment further,” it continued in a statement sent to WWD.
At rival The Wall Street Journal, its luxury magazine WSJ. has lost two key staffers on the sales side. Jillian Maxwell, most recently the executive director of international fashion at WSJ. Magazine, has just been unveiled as the new chief revenue officer of Grazia USA, which is published under a licensing agreement with Pantheon Media Group. There, she joins former coworker David Thielebeule, its new editor in chief. They worked together at The Journal when Thielebeule was style director of WSJ. In the same week as Maxwell’s exit from The Journal was revealed, WSJ.’s publisher Luke Bahrenburg also departed to join Penske Media Corp., parent of WWD, as head of luxury sales executive vice president and chief revenue officer of Robb Report.
Over at The Washington Post, there has been a big but not unexpected announcement. Marty Baron, the longtime executive editor of the paper, which is now owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, informed staffers Tuesday that he would retire at the end of February after eight years at the helm and 45 years in journalism. His retirement had been rumored for some time, but he had agreed to stay on throughout the presidential election. Management has yet to reveal Baron’s successor, which will no doubt send media gossip circles into overdrive speculating on who that could be.
Elsewhere, as former NBA player Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman looks to rebuild Ebony and Jet magazines, which he acquired for a $14 million from bankruptcy through his company Bridgeman Sports and Media at the end of last year for a reported $14 million, he is building out his new executive team starting with Michele Ghee. She was recently named chief executive officer of 1145 Holdings, the two magazines, which have chronicled Black life in America for three-quarters of a century. Ghee has spent 25 years as a media executive working for the likes of WME, CNN, A&E, The History Channel and BET Networks, where she created and ran the first and only network for Black women: BETHer. Most recently she was a managing partner at consultancy Stratechic Alliance.
Condé Nast Entertainment’s new president Agnes Chu has also been building out her team since joining the company in September, bringing over Jennifer Jones, one of her former colleagues from The Walt Disney Co., as head of global business affairs and operations. She was previously vice president of business affairs for Disney. Chu also revealed that Teal Newland has been promoted to senior vice president of digital video for English language; Ezzie Chidi-Ofong senior vice president of digital video for local language; Cecile Murias senior vice president of global physical production, and Reggie Williams senior vice president of global consumer revenue video. As for Oren Katzeff, the division’s former president, he has now exited the company.
Finally, The Atlantic is adding three senior editors to its staff. Daniel Engber is joining the science desk from Wired; Chris Ip joins the culture section after most recently editing features at Engadget, and Honor Jones joins the magazine staff from The New York Times.
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