Here’s a bomb blast in the war between Adam Moss and his former protege, Hugo Lindgren: Sam Anderson is leaving New York to join Mr. Lindgren’s growing roster of talent at the New York Times Magazine. Two days ago, Adam Sternbergh made the same move, escalating the two editors’ budding rivalry. Both hires were first reported in The Observer.
Mr. Anderson did not respond to a request for comment. As New York‘s book critic, he has built a reputation for sharp, deliriously crafted prose–see the first paragraph of this 2009 review for an example–but it was not immediately clear whether he would continue in a similar role at the Times Magazine.
Mr. Moss announced the move to his staff at New York with this memo just after 4 p.m.:
From: Katherine Ward
To: One Hudson
Re: A Message from Adam Moss
You all know by now that Adam Sternbergh is leaving us to join our friends and colleagues at The New York Times Magazine. I am sorry to say that Sam Anderson will be decamping for the Times Magazine as well. It goes without saying that we will miss them both, and wish them the best in their new uptown gigs.
Both have been important players in the evolution of New York over the past half-decade. To name just a few of their obvious contributions, Adam provided the voice for the Approval Matrix, one of the signatures of this incarnation of the magazine. He wrote stories such as “Up With Grups” and “The What You Are Afraid Of” that imaginatively covered the tensions of gentrification. He got us to wonder what was wrong with wearing shoes; insinuated his sensibility all over our culture pages (“Beware the Curve of Undulating Expectations!”), gave us strong interesting ideas and provided critical gloss that helped define the way the magazine talked to its readers.
Sam’s impact has also been far-ranging. In my view, he redrew the boundaries of book criticism, infusing his reviews with erudition, a sense of adventure and an implicit throughline that explored the changing nature of how we read. His features, on James Franco and Augusten Burroughs to name just two, were wild experiments with form–genre-bending, smart and fun. He is a fearless and committed writer and thinker.
When people tell me what they like about this magazine they often say they admire the way New York finds the intersection of seriousness and fun. Both Adam and Sam have helped us figure out what that means — in print and online. It’s a great corner of the world to inhabit, just where we ought to be.
It’s always painful when cherished colleagues leave this place and I can’t pretend I’m happy to see them go. But it’s also true that this magazine has always had as its project the discovery of new, vital talent and that exciting work continues. We won’t find another Adam and Sam; but we will find other wonderful new voices who will keep the magazine fresh and moving forward. Our burden is that sometimes we’re so good at discovery that we are vulnerable to other publications that want what we have. But that’s our opportunity as well. In the perpetual hunt for talent, the magazine stays vital. We are constantly remaking ourself; that’s the thrill for us, and also, when we do it right, for our readers.
Over the last few months, we have been lucky to have join us Nitsuh Abebe, as great and original a pop music writer as I’ve ever seen. We have been proud to welcome as contributing editors Wesley Yang and Jason Zengerle; excited to publish such talents as Ben Wallace-Wells. With this issue John Heilemann becomes our National Affairs Editor. News editor James Burnett and senior editor Raha Naddaf (for those who don’t know, James was editor of Boston magazine, then did a stint at Rolling Stone; Raha rose as an editor at GQ, and then was a senior editor at O) are off to sensational starts. Carl Swanson and, soon, Jada Yuan begin their next evolutions here working primarily as writers. Young Danny Kim, until recently an intern at Time, has been making such amazing pictures for us that he will now become our official staff photographer. They are just some of the reasons to love New York right now. Since this seems to have morphed into a kind of year-end message, let me just say what I hope you all know: the rest of you are too. The staff at this magazine is a true blessing.
Thanks, and happy holidays.
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