The departure of Gerry Marzorati from the top spot at the Times Magazine opens up one of the most high-profile seats in magazine journalism. After the shuffles at W and T, this creates another fun guessing game for the media industry. Who will succeed him? Marzorati has been in place since 2004, when New York’s own Adam Moss left. The new editor has an opportunity to shape one of the last and most widely read fonts of long-form journalism out there. Already people are talking (but not the Times, which isn’t commenting). So who is on the list? Here are some educated guesses — internal and external — in decreasing order of likelihood.
1. James Bennet: The Atlantic editor is a natural choice: He left the Times in 2006 to take over the monthly after having served as a White House correspondent and Jerusalem bureau chief. He was also known for his long-form pieces for the Times Magazine. When he went to the Atlantic, he said he saw the move as “a chance to help, encourage and preserve the practice of serious, long-form journalism.” He’d be able to do that back at the Times, though it might come at the expense of some of the lighter elements of the magazine added in the past decade.
2. Jonathan Landman: Landman was the longtime managing editor in charge of nytimes.com until last fall, when he took the culture-czar role over from Sam Sifton (who moved on to take the food-critic role at the Times). At the time, Times executive editor Bill Keller said: “Jon yearns to get back to running coverage, to refresh his roots.” Refresh his roots in anticipation of another job running coverage? Probably — the culture job was viewed by some as a placeholder, and Landman has serious in-house cred and pull with Keller. If the Times goes with an internal pick, Landman is one of two likely choices.
3. Sam Tanenhaus: The “Week in Review” editor is the other leading internal candidate. A vet of the “Book Review” as well (he runs both), Tanenhaus has pull with news managing editor Jill Abramson, whose idea it was to give him double duty in the first place. And he has a foot firmly in big-idea news stories and in culture, which puts him at an advantage.
4. Jacob Weisberg: The Slate founder and author has always been held in high esteem by Keller, sources say, and may be in the mood for a change. He left the direct editorship at Slate in 2008 to helm the Slate Group and launch The Big Money. His wing of the Washington Post Company has fared much better than its cousin Newsweek, which is now for sale.
5. Joe Nocera: According to someone familiar with the situation, Times business columnist Joe Nocera has always had his eye on the magazine job. A business columnist for the paper and contributor to the magazine, Nocera previously spent a decade at Fortune, where he rose from contributing writer to editorial director. He also spent time at Newsweek, Texas Monthly, and Washington Monthly (where James Bennet also started out).
6. Peter Kaplan: The Times probably couldn’t afford Kaplan, who left his post helming the Observer a year ago with accolades ringing in his ears. He’s now enjoying the cushy pastures of Condé Nast Traveler, where he sits in the number-two chair. If the Times wants a marquee name from outside, Kaplan might make the short list, but he’d likely have to take a pay cut to move. After having bossed around twentysomethings for pennies for fifteen years, a pay cut and more rigorous schedule might be unappealing.
7) Dan Zalewski: The talented features editor at The New Yorker has led their top writers to what editor David Remnick calls “some of their best work in the last five or six years.” Having started off at Lingua Franca, he was picked for the Times Magazine by Adam Moss and moved to The New Yorker six years ago, where, Remnick says, he “became important to the magazine instantly.”