Top Editors Burnish Own Brands With Bylines, Books

Mr. Meacham agreed. “It’s a hugely crowded marketplace,” he said, “and you need to get your work and your people’s work out in front of as many people as possible.”

But where do they find the time?

The Newsweek editor said he wrote on long summer days in the attic of his vacation home in Tennessee; Mr. Stengel writes during dark weeks.

Mr. Remnick, it seems, doesn’t really sleep.

“I would never do this if I was somehow stinting the overall magazine,” he said. “I really never would.”

Quite the contrary. “The implication isn’t that the job is boring,” Mr. Remnick said. “It enriches what I do. … In the same way, if I’m reading a lot of fiction, then I can bring something to bear on the fiction that [fiction editor] Deborah Treisman hands me.”

Let’s not forget New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, meanwhile.

Back on Aug. 17, he had two pieces in his paper: a Week in Review cover story about the sudden reemergence of Russia and China, and a Book Review piece on Nelson Mandela. It was the first time he had two pieces in the same paper on the same day since May 4, 2003, when he was a senior writer at the paper.

“I can’t speak for the other guys, but I don’t think of it as marketing,” Mr. Keller wrote in an e-mail. “Magazines, I think, revolve around and are identified with a single strong personality. Newspapers are more collaborative ventures. The success of a newspaper may depend to some degree on its editor, but it doesn’t depend on the worldwide visibility of the editor.

“In some marginal way, writing may fortify my credibility with the staff (oh yeah, he’s one of us) or in some marginal way it might diminish my credibility (um, hasn’t he got really really important things to do?),” he continued, “but that’s not the calculation either.”

jkoblin@observer.com