Hugo Lindgren knows that change doesn’t typically go over well at the tradition-bound New York Times. But now that he’s running The New York Times Magazine he’s trying to push for more openness at a place that has always kept itself above the riffraff, always been known for making its writers difficult to reach.
To that end, he’s made two big changes to the magazine. There will now be an editor’s credit at the end of feature articles, and staffers’ e-mail addresses will be published in the magazine for the first time.
“The big thing was, there’s a symbolic aspect to it,” Lindgren told Adweek today, when he released a preview of his first remade issue, which includes new columns, features and layout. “We want to show readers—we like to hear from them, we want to get feedback—that we’re not inaccessible.”
The Times, inaccessible?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I think…people have to do some work to figure out how to contact people, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing. The whole notion of what we’re trying to do is make the relationship between the readers and people who produce the magazine… part of an exchange.”
Along those lines, for the first time, the Sunday Magazine is publishing an online masthead and a new blog where staffers can share ideas and links. As for naming the editor of each feature and providing contact information for them, Lindgren explained, “The editors have a great deal of input on the stories…It’s interesting to know who’s putting together the magazine.”
Lindgren admitted that there were some reservations inside the Times over the decision. “It was a break in custom,” he said. “We don’t know what kind of response we’re going to get.” To make the change more palatable, he’s setting up separate public e-mails for people who are wary of their in-boxes being inundated by readers.
Photo credit (Hugo Lindgren): Neal Slavin