Adam Moss’ New York magazine shows no signs of tapering off its symbiotic relationship with Mr. Moss’ previous employer, The New York Times . He’s still hiring trusty fellow Times alumni; New York announced last week that it’s added Times deputy photo editor Jody Quon to the list of personnel wooed away from West 43rd Street.
Editorially, Mr. Moss likewise seems to be steering his new magazine toward the familiar channels of the Times Magazine . The front of the April 19 issue of New York eerily echoed Times Magazine cover layouts of yore-a translucent-skinned toddler crouched pensively under one of Mr. Moss’ stark, rhetorical-question headlines: “Who Says He’s a Problem Child?”
The ailments of affluent children were Times Magazine standard theme No. 2 in Mr. Moss’ era. (Standard theme No. 3, esoteric futurism, had been covered two weeks before with a vitamin-rich package about the planned Second Avenue subway.)
But with another story in the works, New York isn’t trying to cruise in The Times ‘ wake: It’s firing a shot across the paper’s bow. According to sources inside and outside The Times , Mr. Moss has commissioned a piece about Times W.M.D. sleuth Judith Miller.
Mr. Moss isn’t just doing the Adam Moss job, in other words. He’s also doing the Daniel Okrent job. Last month, the Times public editor ducked and rolled out of the crossfire surrounding Ms. Miller-whose prewar accounts of Saddam Hussein’s arsenal now appear to have conformed more closely to the hope of the Bush administration and exiled Iraqi Ahmed Chalabi than to the evidence in Iraq.
On his Web log, Mr. Okrent declined to make an investigation into Ms. Miller’s work part of his portfolio, on the grounds that the disputed reporting predated his assignment as public editor.
“I decided that, in the absence of more persuasive complaints than I have seen so far, I would base my assessment of Judy’s work on what she did on my watch,” he wrote.
No such statute of limitations binds New Republic associate editor Franklin Foer, whom sources say Mr. Moss has assigned to write about Ms. Miller. Mr. Foer did not return messages seeking comment about the project; New York spokeswoman Serena Torrey declined to comment about any stories that may or may not be in progress.
Ms. Miller, when contacted by phone about the New York magazine piece, excused herself and rang off, citing her own deadlines.
If the story appears, meanwhile, it may just complete the Times Magazine theme rollout with no. 1: Ruminations on Foreign Policy.
On April 18, from the lower right-hand corner of the SundayStyles section, a brightly colored photo of a sneaker beckoned. Just the thing , a bleary-eyed Sunday-morning Times reader might well have thought.
Or was it? In fact, pulling the section out of the paper retrieved not the beloved SundayStyles page, but the newly relaunched SundayBusiness page.
“Cool,” said SundayBusiness editor Jim Impoco. “That’s what we want: a little bait-and-switch.”
The Times hired Mr. Impoco away from Fortune 10 months ago, asking him to pep up the Sunday Money & Business section. The old section had notable assets-namely the writing, anchored by Pulitzer winner Gretchen Morgenson. But the layout was a pronounced liability: a dense, gray interior that blurred into the stock tables.
“I used a lot of magazine tricks,” Mr. Impoco said when asked to describe what was new. The redesign creates a separate front and back of the book, replete with the vaunted multiple entry points.
“I’ll give you a headline, a deck, a pull quote, a blurb … ,” he said. Ms. Morgenson’s column now starts on the front page and jumps to the inside of the section, where The Times hopes readers will be tempted to stay.
The redesign is “all about the inside,” Mr. Impoco said.
As a bonus attraction, Mr. Impoco has rounded up the business-world equivalent of marquee names as columnists: omni-pundit James Fallows and former game-show host Ben Stein. Is it time for Read Ben Stein’s Money ?
“We’re not dumbing down by any stretch,” Mr. Impoco said.
But they are sporting that new name-in a format previously reserved for the candy-sprinkled SundayStyles. Mr. Impoco said he wasn’t deliberately trying to echo the paper’s fizziest section; he just wanted a new name. “To me, ‘Money & Business’ sounds like ‘Guns & Military,'” he said. “Kind of redundant.”
And then there are those Kangaroos sneakers, teased in the newly expanded page 1 index box and written up by Brendan I. Koerner on page 2.
“A stroll down Broadway near New York University confirms that the vividly colored Kangaroos-just Roos to the shoerati-are popular,” Mr. Koerner wrote.
The shoerati. Mr. Koerner, who also writes for Slate , will be what Mr. Impoco calls the section’s “designated cool-hunter,” covering consumer products in a column called “The Goods.”
“This week, he’s doing false eyelashes,” Mr. Impoco said.
The new column is not the same as “Consumed,” the consumer-products essay column that Slate writer Rob Walker writes for The New York Times Magazine . Nor is it the same as the “Pulse” column in SundayStyles.
But as the Sunday Times gets more adventuresome, it’s starting to look like everybody is on everybody else’s turf.
To help sort things out, Off the Record presents a Sunday Times quiz. The following quotes come from the new SundayBusiness, the same day’s SundayStyles or the previous week’s Money & Business-the last incarnation of the old, fuddy-duddy format. But which is which?
1. “He raves about its ‘F.B.I. look’-all black and chromeless, with lacquered wheel rims-and the 5.3-liter V-8 engine that puts close to 300 horsepower under the hood.”
2. “Women are, surgically speaking, by far the vainer sex.”
3. “Two weeks ago, IMG, the giant entertainment agency known mostly for its representation of athletes, settled with the plaintiffs for more than $11 million, according to a source familiar with the settlement.”
4. “But fee-based accounts can also prompt brokers to care more about bringing in new accounts than about managing older ones, some securities lawyers say.”
5. “Mr. Liggitt, 28, works in New York as a vice president for leveraged finance in the securities unit of the Bank of America.”
6. “Dehillerin has been selling its copper pots and pans since 1820, when it was founded during Paris’s culinary revolution.”
7. “‘I was concerned going into the ride, because his Harley was a real heavy bike, and he’s no spring chicken,’ Mr. Jones said.”
8. “I thought I remembered some M&M’s under the seat of my car, so I took a walk to the parking garage.”
9. “Her courage and playfulness fanned by a mix of Red Bull and vodka, Ms. Bailey dashed over and dragged him out to the dance floor.”
10. “When my mother was pregnant with me, she called me Sam.”
(Answers: 1. Money & Business. 2. SundayBusiness. 3. SundayStyles. 4. SundayBusiness. 5. SundayStyles. 6. SundayStyles. 7. Money & Business. 8. Money & Business. 9. SundayBusiness. 10. Money & Business.)