Frank Rich to Leave New York Times for New York Magazine
In June, Frank Rich will leave his post as columnist for the New York Times to join New York Magazine as an political and cultural essayist, online commentator and editor-at-large of a special section.
His last column will run on Sunday March 13. Rich’s departure, following a 30 year tenure, comes as the Times is undertaking a major overhaul of its Sunday Week in Review section, adding to its Op-Ed pages, and beginning its “paywall” online subscribers program.
Rich’s 30 years at the Times was comprised of 14 years as the chief drama critic and 17 as a Sunday columnist, 6 of which featured an unusually lengthy and celebrated column in the Week in Review section. He has contributed columns to the front-page of Sunday Times’ “Arts & Leisure” section and from 1999 to 2003 he was a senior writer for The New York Times Magazine. The Times’ culture editor also employed him as a senior adviser.
In a press release issued this morning, Rich said, “There is no greater newspaper than the Times. I leave the paper with deep affection for both the institution and my many brilliant colleagues, and with much gratitude for the opportunity the paper gave me to serve in two dream jobs in journalism.” He explains his reason for departing as a search for “what might be most exciting for me next” and says the prospect of joining long term friend and colleague New York magazine editor-in-chief Adam Moss is “impossible to top”.
Moss and Rich first worked together at Esquire Magazine in the 1980’s, and later at New York Times Magazine, where Moss served as editor for 8 years. He moved over to New York in 2004.
Of Rich, Moss says, “Frank Rich is a giant — a powerhouse critic of politics and culture, a rigorous thinker, a glorious stylist, a skeptic and optimist at the same time. There is just no one like him in American journalism.” He goes on to say, “Since the day I came to New York, I have hoped I could persuade him to join us here.”
The New York Times’ Week in Review section, of which Rich’s 1800 word column is the lynchpin, is being restructured to adapt to an increasingly online, instant news cycle, and the Op-Ed section will welcome a bi-weekly Op-Ed column by business section columnist Joe Nocera.
Nocera writes Saturday Talking Business for the Times and contributes to the Magazine. He will not move to the Op-Ed pages until April.
The Times is working hard to stay afloat in this new era of digital media. The upcoming launch of their paywall program will limit the access that non-print-subscribers have to their online content, most notably making most columns impossible to access without some level of subscription. There has, as of yet, been no official release of the specifics of the new program but the most recent reports describe a $9.99 monthly fee for unlimited online access, with more expensive options available for an I-Pad app. An undisclosed number of stories will be free to access each month and print subscribers will be provided with unlimited web access.
New York Magazine has been significantly more successful than other weekly magazines in resisting the existential threat than online journalism is bringing to that corner of the industry. Their adaptability in a changing climate includes a web savvy that other magazines lack. The addition of Rich to their roster of contributors follows this constant renewal. In the same press release, Rich stated that his position at New York will allow him “to write with more reflection, variety, and space than is possible within the confines of a weekly newspaper column — and, for that matter, will allow me to stretch the definition of a magazine column.”
Of the Rich-New York partnership, New York publisher Larry Burstein says, “With Frank Rich contributing, we expect our influence to grow even wider.”
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