A NEW JOHN: More work seems to be the great reward for many media types, and John Homans certainly qualifies.
Homans has been named editor of Vanity Fair’s widely read media, business and technology sub-section The Hive, directing daily breaking news coverage of Washington, Wall Street and Silicon Valley. He succeeds Jon Kelly, the well-liked former editor of the vertical who abruptly left his position last week.
While Homans is taking on a new role, Vanity Fair editor in chief Radhika Jones is still counting on him to serve as top editor of feature stories across platforms and subjects at the magazine, something he’s been doing since he joined in 2017.
With The Hive “on a fantastic course,” Homans said Thursday, “[Hive editor] Jon Kelly, Graydon [Carter] and now Radhika have created a great product that reflects the magazine but now has a distinctive voice online, and I’m going to continue that. By trade, I’m a magazine editor. I worked with Clay Felker, Peter Kaplan and The New York Observer so some of those values I have brought to the job and I’m going to continue to bring those values to the job — conflict and personality in telling the story, the politics and business view through these giant personalities. That’s what I’m excited about. Conflict and personality — that’s the Felkerian motto.”
As for his own style, Homans said, “I’m interested in gossip and I’m in interested in literature — and other things. But my own style is probably somewhere in between as a mixture of those poles. I’m not a tweeter, but I’m an avid follower of Twitter, and an avid reader. I’m following the news and the human comedy moment to moment.”
Homans joined VF nearly two years ago, after punching the clock at Bloomberg Politics and Bloomberg Businessweek. In the past year, he has edited VF’s cover stories on Michael B. Jordan and presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, as well as others about the untold truths of Meghan Markle’s fractured American family and a look at the knuckle-bearing battle at Fox News. Homans also served as executive editor at New York magazine for 20 years and worked at Harper’s, the New York Observer, Details and Esquire.
Picking up a quick lunch, Homans said in a phone interview about his new role: “There’s a lot of continuity. I have been editing some of these writers and I’ve been supervising some of these writers. And I’ve been working closely with Jon Kelly. It’s not so much of a leap in responsibility. It’s a change but not a leap. And I will continue to work for the magazine. The challenge for a magazine like Vanity Fair and for what I expect to be involved with is harmonizing the work of the magazine and the work online.”
Like many in the media field, Homans is charged by “telling stories in one voice that passes from one to the other, repurposing our online content for the magazine and figuring out how the two can work together, which is a project that all legacy publications are involved with. I think we’re doing pretty well and we can do even better. Radhika and I are really in agreement about how things should work and she’s been doing a really good job. I expect to have a more fantastic collaborative relationship going forward.”
Homans also authored the Penguin Random House-published book, “What’s A Dog For? The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend.” As for any other books in the pipeline, Homans said, “I wish I did. I’m always looking for something, but not currently. I hope that I’ll find one. But I expect to be pretty busy for the immediate future so I won’t worry so much about that. I had been.”