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The Wall Street Journal went in-house after all for the new editor in chief of its glossy magazine WSJ. — sort of. On Tuesday, the Journal named Deborah Needleman to the role, as of Sept. 1. Needleman has been ensconced at the paper’s offices for the last few months consulting on the launch of its new Saturday section, so at least she already has her ID card and knows where the bathrooms are.
She succeeds Tina Gaudoin, who is moving back to London and will serve as contributing editor for The Wall Street Journal Europe, where she will write a weekly style and fashion column.
And Needleman’s empire will be bigger than Gaudoin’s — she’ll also have a key role at the paper itself as editor of the Saturday section when it launches this fall, bringing the Journal’s weekend lifestyle coverage under the control of a single editor for the first time. “I wasn’t looking for a full-time job,” Needleman told WWD. “But I really started thinking about it more recently, and it’s a time of growth and expansion at the Journal and that’s hard to find.”
She added there are no plans for a redesign of WSJ., but her aim is to broaden the magazine’s readership. “It’s not a women’s magazine but we want to get more women into the readership,” she said. She declined to speak to the rumor that WSJ. will increase its frequency in 2011 to eight times a year (the magazine currently comes out six times annually).
Managing editor Robert Thomson had been overheard saying that he wanted a “star” to fill Gaudoin’s shoes and, during his search, the Journal is said to have interviewed more than 10 candidates for the job, including Marie Claire editor in chief Joanna Coles; Jay Fielden, former editor in chief of Men’s Vogue; Jamie Pallot, editorial director of Condé Nast Digital; Horacio Silva, online director of T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and former deputy editor of W Julie L. Belcove. And it appears there was a bit of competition to snag Needleman, as insiders believe she had also been speaking to her old employer, Condé Nast, about stepping into the top job at Architectural Digest. “I was toiling away and didn’t apply to the WSJ. job right away,” said Needleman. “But there is a sense of optimism there and it was irresistible to pass this up.” Needleman’s first issue will come out in December.