New Time Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs will announce two hires this week, she told Poynter in a phone call Tuesday evening: Senior Editor Matt Vella will become business editor of the news organization, and former New York Post deputy features editor Isaac Guzman (as Joe Pompeo reported last month) will become Time’s culture editor.
Vella and Guzman will edit across platforms: There will be no Web/print divide in the Gibbs era. “I think I’m the first editor of Time to take over with a larger digital audience than print audience,” Gibbs said. She’s restructured Time’s meetings — Time won’t miss out on “stories that someone had a great idea that never made it to the right person.”
Time announced Gibbs would be its new top editor Tuesday, but she’s been acting in that role since July. Time.com will relaunch its website this autumn, and she says that’s where she’s been focused. The print magazine’s covers in that time period — which include topics like MLK, Detroit’s bankruptcy and bees — are a “good reflection of my interests,” said Gibbs, the magazine’s first female editor.
Time’s print covers are still an enormous advantage, Gibbs said. “It’s been years and years and years since we thought of our competition as only other magazines,” but their fronts, and Time’s editorial resources, mean “we get to start a conversation and then continue it.” George Stephanopoulos handed President Obama Time’s “How Wall Street Won” cover in an interview last weekend, she noted.
Under those covers, the print magazine is no longer a “vessel for the previous week’s news,” Gibbs said. “Everything we do in the magazine is a choice…. There’s no sense of duty that we have to do something on such and such a story if we don’t have anything to say.” The magazine will still seek out tentpoles like Steven Brill’s influential “Bitter Pill” cover and Elizabeth Dias’ story about changes in Hispanic churchgoing habits.
Gibbs’ changes will be “evolutionary,” she said when I asked if she’d consider doing something splashy like ending “Person of the Year” (“I think I’d probably get a little pushback about that”). Her own interests tend toward topics like presidents, the way public opinion shifts on issues like gay marriage and medical technology.
“My goal, I would say, is we have a large and global audience, and I look forward to making it even bigger even more global,” she said. “It isn’t just readers finding us — we can find them.”