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Memo Pad: In the House...Switching Sides...

After months of negotiation, Middle East correspondent Dexter Filkins is leaving The New York Times and heading to The New Yorker.

Cover of Trad Home

Cover of Trad Home.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

IN THE HOUSE: When Domino shuttered and Blueprint folded a few years ago, young design devotees didn’t know where to turn for their monthly shelter magazine fix. Domino alum Michelle Adams and Patrick Cline, who met Adams at a photo shoot for the magazine, saw an opportunity and created Lonny, an online magazine in the same genre. The first issue in October 2009 featured Deborah Needleman in her garden and, since then, the title has had more big names, such as Celerie Kemble, who appeared on a recent cover. On the business side, as of early December, Lonny had already secured enough advertising in 2011 to exceed its ad performance this year, Adams told WWD. Last month Lonny recorded 9.2 million page views and 101,243 unique visitors.

The print shelter category, now smaller in scope, has watched Lonny closely and now Meredith Corp., home to the “360 degree” strategic marketing approach, has tapped the design duo to create a new digital shelter magazine, Trad Home, as a spin-off of the publisher’s Traditional Home. “This is a new gateway to expand the brand,” said Traditional Home editor in chief Ann Maine, while publisher Beth Brenner said the online magazine will reach out to the “next generation of design lovers.” Two issues will be posted next year, in May and September, with work that is completely original from Traditional Home and Lonny, although the latter site will share content on Trad Home and vice versa.

 

“We think this will appeal to the reader of Lonny, but it will be an entirely different product,” said Adams. “You could say it will be a more grown-up version. And it will all be free.” As they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. — Amy Wicks


SWITCHING SIDES: After months of negotiation, Middle East correspondent Dexter Filkins is leaving The New York Times and heading to The New Yorker.

“I’m over the moon,” said David Remnick late Monday morning.

“He’s a heroic talent,” e-mailed Times executive editor Bill Keller. “I’ve personally written two Pulitzer nominations for him. We’ll miss him a lot, but I understand that after 10 years of high-adrenaline war coverage, he wants something completely different.”

Filkins told the Times of his decision today.

“I think Dexter Filkins has long proved himself as one of the great war correspondents and foreign correspondents not only of his generation but ever,” said Remnick. “And that’s reflected in both his coverage in the Times and also in his book [“The Forever War”]. Time and again he not only writes with real intelligence and grace, but he also has the capacity to report deeply and break stories wherever he goes.

“He brings to us the knowledge of a huge region of the world that is going to be, unfortunately, on our agenda for an untold period of time,” he continued.

But Filkins may not just be limited to the Middle East.

“The plan here is to send Dexter to a wide variety of foreign stories that we will work out mutually,” Remnick said. “I’m sure that he will get his fill of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but I’d also be very surprised if he didn’t travel far and wide — whether that’s the Middle East or Africa or India.”

Doesn’t The New Yorker already have a well-muscled group of foreign writers?

“It’s not very large,” he said, speaking about The New Yorker’s foreign lineup. “We have people who are perfectly capable of going to do a foreign story here or there, but in terms of deeply experienced foreign correspondents, we’re not as deep as I would have liked. Dexter is someone I’ve read for a long time and also talked to for a long time. He’s very good friends with [George] Packer and others.”

The Filkins move provides Remnick a workhorse and a fully dedicated foreign correspondent at a period when other New Yorker foreign writers either have side projects or assignments at home. Packer is expected to cover more domestic issues in the coming year. Steve Coll is the head of the New America Foundation. Lawrence Wright is currently working on a domestic story.

The Filkins negotiation has lasted months, including a moment two months ago when Keller and Times foreign editor Susan Chira tried to convince Filkins in person in Afghanistan to stay at the paper (Keller and Chira were on a previously scheduled trip). Times Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren had tried to set up opportunities for Filkins to write for the magazine. Evidently, it wasn’t enough.

And now The New Yorker becomes that much more powerful.

Filkins will report to features director Daniel Zalewski, who turned down the top job at The New York Times Magazine in September.

Filkins wrote in an e-mail, “I love the New York Times, and I will miss everyone there. I’m eternally grateful for everything they’ve done for me. The New Yorker is an extraordinary institution, and I feel very lucky that I will have the privilege to write for them.” — John Koblin

UP THE LADDER: Two Time Inc. senior executives, Stephanie George and Paul Caine, are getting promotions. They will lead corporate sales and marketing, with George named executive vice president and chief marketing officer and Caine will be evp and chief revenue officer. He will also continue to serve as president of the style & entertainment group. As previously announced, evp Sylvia Auton is heading back to the United Kingdom to take the chief executive officer position at IPC and evp Kerry Bessey will leave Time Inc. at the end of the year. — A.W.

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