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KRISTINA’S NIGHT OUT: On Thursday, a day after she was named editor of WSJ. magazine, Kristina O’Neill was at the magazine’s flagship shindig, the Innovator of the Year awards. She had the best seat in the house: right next to Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson, who introduced her from the stage to a crowd that included Wendi Deng Murdoch, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Ray Chambers, the United Nations’ special envoy for malaria, and Anna Wintour.
O’Neill, who had spent the last 12 years at Harper’s Bazaar, most recently as executive editor, was still a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. “Did I think, one day after being announced for the post, I would be on a red carpet? No,” she said.
She still hasn’t even moved from Hearst Tower to Avenue of the Americas. On Friday, she still had to clock in at Bazaar. Her first day at the Journal is Oct. 29.
“Emotionally, obviously I’m moving to WSJ. But physically, I’m still at Bazaar,” she said.
RELATED STORY: Ruth Altchek Elevated, Kristina O’Neill Hired at WSJ >>
Thursday was the first time she got some social face time with Thomson, who surprised her.
“He has a wicked sense of humor,” she said.
The boss, in a skinny suit and retro horn-rimmed eyeglasses, sat right in front of the stage between O’Neill and Chambers, an investment banker who made his millions in private equity and is one of the owners of the New Jersey Devils.
She did not know who Thomson was wearing. “My money’s on Prada,” she said.
Overall, it was a good night for nerds. Awards went to Dorsey and architect Wang Shu. Malcolm Gladwell was seated next to Julianne Moore and Linda Evangelista.
But it was also auspicious for O’Neill.
“It was loaded for symbolism for me,” she said. “I hope it signifies what’s to come.”
Though O’Neill doesn’t know what the magazine will look like yet — “too early to really say” — she said there will be some continuity from the Deborah Needleman days thanks to Ruth Altchek, who was promoted to editorial director, in charge of overseeing Off Duty and the magazine. But won’t that mean that the magazine will look a lot like what Needleman is planning for T: The New York Times Style Magazine? O’Neill said she hasn’t even thought about the competition yet.
“The biggest distinction right now is that we have two more letters in our title,” she said.