Where Are They Now? The Daily Checks In With The Major Editors Of The Past 20 Years

Media Edition

by The Daily Front Row

Wondering what your favorite former editor is up to now? Ditto. So we checked in with a few media powerhouses we’ve loved chronicling in THE DAILY over the past two decades.

Ariel Foxman

Current job: “General manager of WS Development’s Boston Seaport neighborhood project; writer, mainly for Architectural Digest.”
Media diet: “In print, Real Simple and The New Yorker; digital, feels like everything. Also, I’m on Instagram multiple times a day and Twitter maybe twice a day.”
Reasons I’m optimistic about media in 2022: “Edward Enninful at British Vogue and Pierre A. M’Pelé at GQ France. I also love the Wordle mania—a renewed cultural obsession with words is a good thing.”
The best thing about the industry 20 years ago was… “A willingness to invest time and resources to create something extraordinary, and to investigate something revolutionary.”
What I’d tell my 2002 self about media, and my career, in 20 years: “What!? And ruin the surprise? Not a chance.”

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Anne Slowey

Current job: “Consulting on tech projects and VC investment strategies; speech- and joke-writing; dabbling
in day trading; and finally writing that book, but it has nothing to do with fashion.”
Media diet: “I read newsletters from a wide range of news, features, pop culture, and arts publications, and am starting to dive into Substack.”
Reasons I’m optimistic about media in 2022: “I’m optimistic about anyone who challenges the status quo.”
The best thing about the industry 20 years ago was… “Not hearing words like ‘ad-leveraged’ and ‘branding.’ ”
What I’d tell my 2002 self about media, and my career, in 20 years: “Don’t believe the hype!”

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Deborah Needleman

Current job: “Maker of baskets, and other things from plants.”
Media diet:NYT every day, but only the news pages, and not out of pleasure (I love its cooking app, too). I also enjoy reading Financial Times weekend edition, and my little local newspaper. For podcasts, I enjoy a gardening one called ‘Grow, Cook, Eat, Arrange,’ and Ariel Levy’s ’The Just Enough Family’ podcast. I get a few newsletters, but most consistently open the travel newsletters from Prior, a company started by a former magazine writer. I have a sporadic, mostly unhealthy, addictive relationship with Instagram. I read articles from The New Yorker and other literary magazines, but rarely whole issues. My online life is mostly about accessing specific information; I have a very intimate relationship with Google.”
Reasons I’m optimistic about media in 2022: “Samira Nasr at Harper’s Bazaar; Jo Ellison at FT’s How to Spend
It; Martina Mondadori and Miguel Flores-Vianna at Cabana magazine; and I’m excited to see what Hamish Bowles creates at World of Interiors.
The best thing about the industry 20 years ago was… “The freedom magazine editors had and the singular focus of the job. You were supposed to make a great magazine. End of story.”

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Stefano Tonchi

Current job: “Journalist, editor, and curator.”
Reasons I’m optimistic about media in 2022: “I see a return to highly differentiated, niche media, to small magazines that stand out, to print and digital publications with very focused editors. A decade ago, the mainstream and the niche were colliding, and every publication was swimming in a sea of sameness. Now, the middle is disappearing and only a select few will survive. As an industry, we need to recognize the limits and failure of globalization when it comes to media. Those who are pushing for the same content everywhere will become irrelevant. The days of cultural neo-colonialism are gone. I’m hopeful about the changes we’re seeing—more local identities being elevated, national collaborations, different voices and perspectives being championed. It’s a time for transformation and individualization. Audiences are moving away from homogenized content and toward what’s different; media properties with distinct identities are rising up.”
The best thing about the industry 20 years ago was… “The enthusiasm and hope in the digital revolution. This is still, in my opinion, the best thing today. Every time mankind created a problem—and clearly, the fragmentation of media, the clutter in the digital news landscape, the dissolving boundaries between what’s true and what’s false, are a big problem—we also came up with a solution!”
What I’d tell my 2002 self about media, and my career, in 20 years: “The media landscape evolves, but what stays constant is a journalist’s curiosity. New mediums bring new possibilities. Your role is to connect the dots, put ideas in a larger cultural context, create images, tell stories about people, places, and things you find interesting. Whether you channel it into a book, a magazine, a newsletter, a website, the mission is the same—to facilitate discovery.”

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Ruth Reichel

Current job: “I’ve just finished a month as writer in residence at Substack, doing a daily newsletter, La Briffe. I had so much fun, so I’m continuing it on a weekly basis. For the past two years, I’ve been working on a documentary about the food landscape with director Laura Gabbert. It’s been an incredible project. I’m also finishing a novel, which takes place in Paris in the ’80s. And I’ve been brainstorming a podcast with a man who has the most interesting food mind of anyone I know.”
The best thing about the industry 20 years ago was… “General-interest publications still had enormous reach. With most of them gone, people now tend to stick to publications that mirror their own views. This is devastating for a democracy.”
What I’d tell my 2002 self about media, and my career, in 20 years: “Everyone will be carrying a computer around all the time, and that’ll change everything. There’s no way print can compete with images, especially moving images. Think big—and prepare yourself for a different world.”

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Lucy Danziger

Current job: “Editorial director and CCO at The Beet, your guide to plant-based eating.”
Media diet: “All digital, a mix of newsletters and dailies— Morning Brew, the NYT online, The New York Post, WaPo, The New Yorker, CNN and more on Twitter, Medium for health content, and The Daily Beet, of course.”
Reasons I’m optimistic about media in 2022: “None. Watching the news is depressing.”
The best thing about the industry 20 years ago was… “The value companies put on talent, especially writers and editors, creative directors and photographers.”
What I’d tell my 2002 self about media, and my career, in 20 years: “Get your real estate license.”

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Jane Pratt

Current job: “Launching a new media entity.”
The best thing about the industry 20 years ago was… “Print was already waning, but it was still a fun time to be in print. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say it was fun to spend $100,000 on a six-page photo shoot, fly to Costa Rica or wherever we decided we wanted to go, and spend a week with a whole, big, nice team of people that were all friends!”
What I’d tell my 2002 self about media, and my career, in 20 years: “Jane, you’re going to be really happy because you’ll be able to have continual interaction with the people you love–your family, and people who read what you produce, on a full-time basis, 24/7, and you’re going to thoroughly enjoy the constant feedback and interaction.”

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Eva Chen

Current jobs: “VP of fashion & shopping partnerships at Instagram; children’s book author, my latest book, I Am Golden, is my eighth one. It’s centered on the Chinese-American experience—I spent a lot of my time during COVID thinking about my identity and upbringing, within the lens of #stopasianhate.”
Reasons I’m optimistic about media in 2022: “I’ve loved following the careers of the next generation on Instagram, like  meme creator @ideservecouture, whose stories make me laugh out loud, and poets Cleo Wade and Amanda Gorman. My friend Shiona Turini documented the whole experience of styling for Insecure on Instagram, and I can only imagine how many teens and students watched the process and thought, “Yes, I can do that, too!” I also love getting a  sense of who they are holistically and the day-to-day of their lives, not just their work.”
The best thing about the industry 20 years ago was… “Less about the media industry and more about the age and experience level I was at 20 years ago, but everything was brand-new and imbued with a sense of firsts. (My first byline! My first cover story!) That feeling is so unique at the start of a career.”
What I’d tell my 2002 self about media, and my career, in 20 years: “In 2002, I was a freelancer in Lucky’s fashion credits department, then a beauty assistant at Elle. I never would’ve been able to imagine the career I’ve had. I’d tell myself to always be open to possibilities, and if a career opportunity gives you the butterflies, it means you care deeply about it and should follow that feeling.”

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Martha Nelson 

Current job: “Officially, I retired, so where’s all that free time? I’m on the board of Andrews McMeel Universal publishing company; chair of the board of local NYC news site, City Limits; chair of Where Women Made History, an initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where I also serve as co-chair of the board of trustees; and the advisory board of iconic Philip Johnson property, The Glass House.”
Media diet: “I still get home delivery of The New York Times and the weekend Wall Street Journal because I love that paper outside the door in the morning. I also subscribe to City Limits, WaPo and South Dakota News Watch. Beyond that, I’m awash in a sea of content that flows through my phone and in-box, like Neo.Life (Jane Metcalfe’s site on the intersection of technology and our biology), Artnet News, The Wag (entertainment), Marilyn Kirschner (The Look on Line), McKinsey & Company’s newsletter…and The Daily! I try not to go down the rabbit hole of TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram too frequently. Periodically, I swear off all three. I served nine years on the jury of the Peabody Awards, where I was immersed in podcasts and documentaries, so that’s also a permanent part of the diet.”
Reasons I’m optimistic about media in 2022: “Given the decimation of local news across the country, I find hope in every independent local news org. Their staffs are often tiny, but the work they do is important and
essential to democracy. Support them!”
The best thing about the industry 20 years ago was… “The camaraderie, the resources, and the fact-checking.”
What I’d tell my 2002 self about media, and my career, in 20 years: “ ‘It’s the video, stupid!’ I recently ran across an old Time Inc. deck on video that laid it all out. The analysis was great. We saw it coming, but we didn’t reallocate resources fast enough or hard enough. I loved my years at Time Inc., but one thing I couldn’t predict was how fascinating, fun, and crazy my stint as Yahoo’s Global Editor-in-Chief would be. Two companies I worked at ended up being sold to ‘phone companies’: Time Warner to AT&T, and Yahoo to Verizon, and if I’d told myself that 20 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

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Atoosa Rubenstein

Current job: “Atoosa Unedited on Substack.”
Media diet: “New York Post; NY Times Magazine and Styles section; goop; TikTok; Substacks of Yung Pueblo and E. Jean Carroll; podcasts of Tara Brach, ‘SmartLess,’ and ‘Pulling the Thread’ with Elise Loehnen.”
Reasons I’m optimistic about media in 2022: “Taylor Lorenz… I’m obsessed with her TikTok.”
The best thing about the industry 20 years ago was… “Umm, there was something called a print publication and they
were kinda really fun to work at…”
What I’d tell my 2002 self about media, and my career, in 20 years: “Enjoy your time being the ‘It girl’ because you’re going to need to be the ‘comeback girl’ in 2022!”

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