“Rolling Stone’s New Editor Noah Shachtman Talks the Future of Print”

From a story on mediaite.com by Aidan McLaughlin headlined “Rolling Stone’s New Editor Noah Shachtman Talks Scoops, the Future of Print, and Taking on Rock’s Sacred Cow”:

Noah Shachtman, a veteran journalist who cut his teeth as a national security reporter before rising to the top of the Daily Beast masthead, joined Rolling Stoneearlier this year as its new editor in chief.

The hire has brought renewed attention and buzz to the 54-year-old rock magazine.

At the Beast, Shachtman presided over a fast-paced newsroom that put a premium on scoops. He has sought to bring equal energy to Rolling Stone, which has broken several big stories since he took the reins, including a report that exposed the extent of Eric Clapton’s anti-vax crusade, as well as an alarming exclusive on meetings between Jan. 6 protest organizers and members of Congress.

Shachtman joined me on this week’s episode of The Interview podcast to discuss the first few months of his tenure at Rolling Stone, and what he’s trying to do with the legendary magazine.

“I think you’re going to find a lot of hard-hitting political reporting, I think you’re going to find a lot of hard-hitting cultural reporting, and some great music journalism,” he said. “And I think you’ll have the new Rolling Stone right there.”

Rolling Stone is a natural fit for Shachtman, himself a musician who once played at venues like CBGB in New York before choosing journalism as a full-time career.

I called up Shachtman to discuss the daunting task of taking over Rolling Stone, where he plans to take the magazine, the future of print media….

On growing talent at Rolling Stone

Hunter S. Thompson and Annie Leibovitz didn’t start out as stars. Annie Leibovitz was like a college kid when she started working at Rolling Stone. We’re going to look to develop our own talent and grow our own talent, and we’re going to look to make stars out of people who can get scoops and who can tell stories beautifully. What we’re not going to do is take a big name but no game person that was famous 40 years ago and give them $17 a word, just because they used to be famous once. I don’t think we’ll be doing that. What we will be doing is, people that have got great material, we’re going champion that great material. And some of those people will be people you’ve heard of before, and some of those people won’t be or they’ll be people you’ve heard of by the time we get done with them. At the Daily Beast, I think I’ve had a pretty good track record of taking folks that might have been on the periphery of the news game and putting them right at the center, and I’m planning on doing the same thing here.

On the future of print magazines

Whether it’s in print or online or a magazine or a newspaper or a TV show or what have you, you’ve got to bring something new to the table. You’ve got to bring something original to the table. That has to be sensibility, and it should also be new information, too. I think what’s definitely dead is this idea that a magazine can just wrap up a bunch of daily reporting into a nice little bow and present that and call it a feature. That proposition, I think, is pretty much dead. But in terms of deep dives and strong voice and beautiful presentation, I absolutely think that’s alive and well. I was lucky enough to be part of a crew at Wired magazine back in the day that really produced just incredible journalism and incredible magazine-making. Some of the issues that we produced in that era, I really look up to now and I’m trying to replicate how beautiful, how hard hitting, how inventive they were. I’m hoping to match that level.


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