How Vanity Fair, After Tina Brown, Became Boring and Predictable

I do believe that great magazines, if they are to last over time, are created with a consistency in staff. If you are a student of mastheads—as I was, growing up—you will notice an astonishing consistency in ours. Indeed, the names atop the Vanity Fair masthead are not appreciably different from those a quarter of a century ago. Close staffs that have worked together for a long time develop a creative shorthand that just makes the enterprise a whole lot better—and a whole lot more enjoyable. My feeling is, if you’re not having a great time in journalism, get out of it. You’re certainly not in it for the money. Also, I’m a big believer in hiring young and then training and promoting, as opposed to always bringing in outsiders to fill the top spots. I like working with people I can trust and who have been through the same wars. I always say that about 75 percent of the time an editor knows pretty much what to do. As for that other 25 percent, a wise one will surround himself with smart, experienced colleagues who can help steer him toward the best possible decision. And it’s that final 25 percent that makes the difference between success and failure.

—From “Graydon Carter Recalls His Fondest Memories (and Tricks of the Trade) From 25 Years Atop Vanity Fair”


  1. Richard Mattersdorff says:

    Hmmm. So this alleged consistency conflict with… “I envision the magazine as a pyramid.  At the top of the pyramid is a single reader.” (Carter in the same article.)

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