So Graydon is gone. Now what?
The coming departure of Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair’s editor for 25 years, has set off a race to inherit his throne. Rarely does such a coveted editorship come up for grabs, even in an industry undergoing an unusual amount of churn. As executives at Condé Nast consider their options, editors and people in the magazine world say the winning candidate has to check off a few boxes:
1. Be comfortable in Vanity Fair’s swirling spheres of celebrity, politics, journalism and finance. Mr. Carter hosted parties and owned trendy restaurants. Mingling, and finessing a seating chart, are key.
2. Be willing to navigate the tumult at Condé Nast, which in the past year has shaken up top leadership and reorganized its production structure as it weathers an industry-wide financial downturn.
3. Embracing the digital future is a must. So is the ability to generate new revenue streams to offset continued declines in print advertising and circulation.
4. Impress Anna Wintour, the Vogue editor who now does double duty as Condé Nast’s artistic director. Ms. Wintour will likely want an ally at Vanity Fair, one of the company’s biggest titles, as she expands her power and influence.
5. Star quality counts. With the departure of Glamour’s Cindi Leive, Condé Nast has lost two major editors in the span of a week. An unknown quantity at Vanity Fair could fuel a perception that the company is losing its luster.
Here is a look at several top contenders, based on their experience, interviews with people in the industry and chatter in the Manhattan publishing world.
She turned US Weekly into a behemoth, then revived The Hollywood Reporter from a dusty trade into a glossy weekly with influence on both coasts and big online traffic. She is a woman of color with an enviable track record in a lily-white field of candidates. Vanity Fair has long been seen as a next step for her — and she was spotted in the hallways of Condé Nast’s headquarters this week. But some at Condé Nast question her journalism chops. Ms. Min would also have to uproot her family from Los Angeles, where she has a real shot at leading a television network, a business with a much brighter future than magazines.