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NYT May Poach One of Our Own

New York Times looks toward Austin in quest to fill coveted magazine editor role

Jake Silverstein
Jake Silverstein starts his NYC gig later this spring. Texas Monthly Talks/ KLRU

The esteemed editor in chief position at The New York Times Magazine, which has been vacant since Hugo Lindgren was ousted last year, may be filled with a familiar face. According to Capital New York, New York Times' executive editor Jill Abramson met with Texas Monthly editor in chief Jake Silverstein last week while she was in town for SXSW Interactive, presumably to vet him for the role. 

Silverstein, who was named editor of TM in 2008 at the age of 33 (no pressure, anyone!), has continued the magazine's legacy of impeccable journalism and thoughtful storytelling. Texas Monthly has won four National Magazine Awards under Silverstein's tenure, including two in 2013 for public interest and feature writing. Personally, Silverstein is known for his approachable — and perfectionist — style. 

Though Capital says that Silverstein would bring a "bit of Southwestern swagger to a position that has traditionally been held by New York media insiders," it should be noted that the California-born editor previously lived in New York during a tenure at Harper's Magazine as a fact-checker. He came to Texas as a reporter for the Big Bend Sentinel and then to Austin as an MFA candidate at the prestigious Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. Silverstein declined to comment to Capital on both his meeting with Abramson or the likelihood that he will be taking over the position.

Lest this begin to read like a Wikipedia entry for Jake Silverstein, Abramson also met with Evan Smith, CEO and editor in chief of the Texas Tribune. Smith was previously at Texas Monthly and hand-picked Silverstein as his successor before leaving to start the Trib. Smith isn't talking either, allowing us to wildly speculate (which we will do now).

However, Smith is probably not on the candidate list, as Capital would suggest. He seems much less likely leave his position at the Trib, a company he not only started but was integral in turning into a highly respected journalism outlet in less than five years. The Texas Tribune also has a relationship with The New York Times, providing most of the content for the Times' Texas edition, and making Smith a perfect sounding board for Abramson.

Silverstein isn't the only candidate to fill one of journalism's most coveted roles, but he seems to be the only one being seriously considered outside of the New York press corps. If he leaves, it will undoubtedly be a blow to Texas Monthly, but it will be nice to have such an enthusiastic Texas barbecue advocate steering The New York Times Magazine.

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