A New Editor at Texas Monthly Seems to Signal a Dialing Down of Its Ambition and Its Expenses

Texas Monthly announced today that it has a new editor, Tim Taliaferro, replacing Brian Sweany, who started at the monthly magazine in 1996 and has been editor since 2014.

The magazine was sold a month ago by Emmis Communications, a broadcasting company based in Indianapolis that had branched out into magazines (Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Texas Monthly) but now is selling all of the magazines except for Indianapolis Monthly.

The buyer of Texas M0nthly was Paul Hobby, whose grandfather was once the state’s governor and whose father was the lieutenant governor. He announced the appointment of Taliaferro.

What a cast of editors the magazine has had since Mike Levy started it in 1973: William Broyles, Gregory Curtis, Evan Smith, Jake Silverstein, Brian Sweany.

When Levy left Philadelphia magazine to start Texas Monthly, most everyone in the city magazine business thought he was crazy. A city magazine identifies closely with its city, with its politics, schools, restaurants, and neighborhoods. A city magazine can deliver useful service packages that help its readers live better, and almost every decent-sized city now had one.

How can a state magazine do that kind of service journalism, even in a state as big and proud as Texas? It can try but it can’t come close to what a city magazine can deliver. So, we editors thought, Texas Monthly had better be great. And it was.

Bill Broyles set a high bar from the start and he and every succeeding editor got the respect of  readers and editors across the country, winning 13 National Magazine Awards. Silverstein now edits the New York Times Magazine and Smith started the Texas Tribune, which is creating its own kind of great journalism.

Tim Taliaferro may also be great but his resume—he’s been editor of the University of Texas alumni magazine—suggests a pulling back from Texas Monthly’s ambition to be as good as any national magazine. That kind of ambition is expensive and given the state of print journalism today—ad pages down, it’s harder to get and keep subscribers—it won’t be surprising if Texas Monthly dials down its expenses and ambitions.

Good luck, Tim Taliaferro, and thanks to Bill Broyles, Greg Curtis, Evan Smith, Jake Silverstein, and Brian Sweany for showing that a state magazine can survive and prosper and do great journalism.








  1. For some reason, a few years ago I started receiving Texas Monthly in the mail. Why, I don’t know. I never lived in Texas, never knew anyone there. But I started reading it just because the writing was so durn great! Then, it stopped coming. Anyhow…it was a quality publication–from this, I wonder if that will continue.

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