Rarely has a reporter staying in his job been bigger news in journalism than the fact today that the New York Times’s Mark Leibovich is staying put—albeit with a promotion of sorts.
Washington’s reigning master of the political profile will be the new chief national correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, according to a statement from editor Hugo Lindgren. He’ll also contribute to the political pieces in the paper’s Sunday Styles section. Since he left the Washington Post in 2006, Leibovich has been working mostly for the daily paper and contributing a couple of pieces annually to the Magazine.
Leibovich’s move comes just weeks after the New Republic made a run at recruiting him to join its new incarnation led by Chris Hughes and Franklin Foer. So far, the 40,000-circulation magazine, which is attempting to relaunch the brand with the addition of high-profile, high-powered, and pricey talent, has been having great success recruiting its dream team. This week alone it’s announced the recruiting of the New Yorker’s Julia Ioffe and the Tablet’s Marc Tracy and last week hired Greg Veis back from the Times Magazine. Recruiting Leibovich would have been a seismic event for Washington media.
“I like to be read,” Leibovich said. “That’s most of what any writer could want.”
At the Times Magazine, he won’t have much problem achieving that goal.
Says Lindgren in his memo today, “His style is so naturally suited to what we do. He understands exactly how the culture of Washington interacts with the culture of the whole country.”
Leibovich has been working on a book (already controversial) about Washington culture that will surely be received as a blockbuster when it’s published. To be published next year by Simon & Schuster, it examines “how modern Washington has perfected the culture of self-love and celebrity while the rest of the country is feeling increasingly alienated from the place.”