The Daily Beast has hired a new books editor, and he’s a 24-year-old who spent most of the last two years working as an editorial assistant at the publishing house W. W. Norton. He had been promoted to assistant editor shortly before he left for the Daily Beast.
Lucas Wittmann’s hire comes about two months after the abrupt departure of the site’s first books editor, Alexis Gelber, who had been a managing editor at Newsweek when Tina Brown recruited her back in January.
The Daily Beast had been living without a books page for about four months when Ms. Brown hired Ms. Gelber to start one. “The Book Beast” launched in February as a mix of features, reviews, excerpts, and reading recommendations submitted by newsmakers, book editors, authors, etc. The page was warmly received by people in the publishing industry, who were delighted to see a media outlet adding book coverage for once instead of cutting it down. Ms. Gelber stayed in the job for about six months before she gave it up.
“I think it reflects that the Daily Beast really wants to attract a younger audience,” said Robert Weil, whom Mr. Wittmann assisted at Norton, when asked about his former charge’s youth and his relative inexperience compared to Ms. Gelber.
“Lucas was always wise,” Mr. Weil said. “He has a sense of balance and proportion that extends beyond his years. It’s very comforting to work with Lucas.”
A request to interview Mr. Wittmann about his new gig was denied by Daily Beast publicist Andrew Kirk after the Observer declined to share our questions with him in advance. The publicist indicated that he would be “happy to set up a profile piece on Lucas and Book Beast in the future as it continues to evolve.” So look forward to that.
Follow Leon Neyfakh via RSS.