New York Magazine editor David Haskell on taking over after an industry legend
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My guest today is David Haskell, the brand new editor in chief of New York magazine. Welcome david. Thanks. You looking at me askance. Did I get something wrong? Title wrong. I'll magazine it's just still feels a little weird because his brand new because it's brand new as we're speaking. You have your first new issue is the new editor in chief of the magazine. Yep. That came out on Monday today's Thursday, I think Thursday, mayor pizza in the cover mayor pizza on the cover how much pressure is there in issue number one for you. Or do you feel like you're just gonna eat? So I spent a lot of February and March telling people not to judge and that the real project for the first couple of months was just me adjusting and the whole editorial operation adjusting to sing about atom, basically and finding our our way in this new world, let's fill it in for listeners who Adam is Adama's is one of the the bold type big deal editor chiefs, formerly big deal editor, and she's left in the magazine business. There was great and Carter is Anna winter at moss. Kind of triumphant. David David remnant, David Ramnik, Oberg, Jeff. Jeff Jeff in New York person. But this is one of the people that you like moved to New York to work for right, right? And you are filling his shoes. Yeah. That's a all of the things as the scariest part. Yes. Just the feeling of the shoes of Adam. And I've known him for my entire I've worked in York magazine for twelve years. I knew Adam for a handful of years before that in a kind of mentor friend relationship. He I started magazine of my own and graduate school little magazine called topic originally it was Cambridge University. And then I moved its New York City, and Adam who is a editing. The New York Times magazine at the time I got in touch with and he just was really generous with his time. And gave me a lot of advice about how to make a magazine. So we had that kind of a relationship then he went to New York for a couple of years. He was there. And I was at any topic magazine we'd sort of loosely had conversations about me going there. And then in two thousand. Thousand seven that all made sense. You can't underscore how big a deal. Adam is in the magazine. I mean, the thing the thing that's interesting to hear you to me as you talk is that he is such a big deal and all of those ways and then at the same time as a person incredibly approachable friendly warm understated modest he's like he doesn't play a character. How many people did he have working for him to read is emails? Her Graydon Carter like four different assistants mccrindle. He Adam dot Mossa 'em. Amac dot com. Sort of the public Email. This isn't about that. And then he had a shorter Email for internally all of us to reach him on Email, of course, under you know, he he was a very hands on editor not the kind of editor who sort of set the stage, then did a lot of public events. He was the opposite of that. We can name names if you want. So there was there was a public announcement that he was leaving. And there was a gap in between that and you being anointed behind the scenes. That had done deal. How how does that work? Yeah. Yeah. That I found out soon after thanksgiving and says he pulls you in no not him. Pam Pam sixteen. CEO of the company owner and with her family, the owner of it. So it was really a decision that Pam had already made after some time of of sitting with the news that Adam had told her that he didn't want to stick around for another RIA of his contract. So that they had already been having months conversations of what that meant. And she landed on a plan and loop me into that plan brings you in and sit down have. Yeah. It was kind of we have it was it was a classic scenario where I completely didn't expect it. It was an informed. Adam had not told you was leaving. No. Yeah. And it wasn't like there was a, you know, a meeting that showed up on my calendar and important conversation that I was about to have a pan. It was literally a, hey, can you come by? She had a few things to talk to me about that were completely tiny. And then she said, you know, by the way. Yeah. Oh, by the way, some sad news. But good news. Is that Adam is leaving? And I'd like you to take up. So anyway, that was in December the thanksgiving you are going to replace ADEMA. Yes. Leaving you're going to replace him. Do you go great? Do you go? Holy shit my face flush. And I I was so taken aback. I really truly was it was not what I was imagining was going on. And I mean, I was just so appreciative inside incredibly nervous already. But I think all fumbled out of me was just thank you. I guess and I'm so excited something, so no, no, no introspection. No. I gotta think about whether I can do this or whether I want to do this. No. I mean, I had weirdly I had just filled out in, you know, maybe you have this year too. But we instituted a couple of years ago this annual review annual summary HR process in part of that is that you have to write your own. On assessment. Okay. An answer to a handful of questions and one of the questions was like sort of long term, or what is your view of the future or something like that? And I'd been at this place for twelve years, and I have been always sure that I didn't want Adams job because of the pressure of inheriting something that's performed like so thing that tears up your stomach lining where you're filling issues. The magazine is the thing that I so envy about Adams careers that he he saw a moment to leave the New York Times magazine. And then he was up high in the mass the times to leave that four New York magazine, which was at that moment. Not a great magazine. You know, it it had the bones of something amazing and an early history that was exciting, but Adam got to oversee this massive restoration project and there, and it was like all upside for the history of New York was city magazine back when city magazines didn't get respect. And then it was them. Yeah. I mean, the first ten years in New York magazine were amazing, Tom Wolfe? Exactly clay Felker built it with Milton Glaser and handful of other people Tom Wolfe nor Ephron Gloria Steinem Jimmy breslin. Just an incredible collection of journalist is a local magazine that is definitely national. It was writing about Watergate, I was writing about Hollywood it had a New Yorkers point of view of the world, and then very specific useful Nobel should service about how to actually get around the city that was sort of. It's it's thing in invented what city magazines could be and then the the, quote, unquote, city magazine, kind of became this thing. And it often wasn't I? Impact? Yeah. But you know, the simplest way of understanding what Adam did was looked to those first years, the clay Felker era and find in that history, a template for what the print magazine could be. And also what a digital magazine could be which we could talk more. But it just finished. My my story. I was never interested in the pressure of. Did the job that I. But I did find myself over the course of last year recognizing that I wanted next in my career that the opportunity to lead a editorial project with the ambition and resources to be excellent. That was a sentence that I typed the morning that Pam called me into her office. And so somehow internally I had gotten myself to the place, and it really truly did not think it was going to be here because I didn't think Adam is leaving. And so it just felt like I should let anima Pam know that kind of long-term I'd like to run something in any way, then she called me into office. And and so that was that was December. And then we were all very nervous about how to break this news. And it was Adams, very smart. Although at the time, I thought maybe not correct idea that the best way to do. It would be to split the news cycles, you McCray to news, basically, someone's leaving almost exactly and that that gap people wouldn't jump out the window. That was the thing. I was worried about that Adams. So. Beloved in the office and truly has created magazine and digital incarnation in his image. And what would the staff think to know that he's going and not know who's coming? You know, so but anyway, we got through those twenty four hours. He had an, you know, there's an enormous and glowing article in the times about his career and offset and then and then people are interested in my news too. So that didn't get buried either. So it was well played. And and then and then Adam his last day was was going to be an was March thirty first, and this was mid January now that the news came out. So then we had like ten week transition which was every week very different than the week before is he pulling you aside and saying listen, we never talked about this. But this is actually the secret to doing the whole we had a handful of conversations of like big picture. How does this place work in like big? Picture if you look at the staff because again, you there you at the masthead though, so you had access to a lot of the new how a lot of the mechanism by the last immigration in my job at the magazine was in a position of some leadership and was pretty strategic. So as involved in our conversation where this place was going. I wasn't as clued into the mechanics in the budgeting of how currently works. So that was a big education, and you are by the way, how old I just turned forty. That's the right age to start running a magazine. Yes. So I started it when I was thirty nine. Tenth I turned forty. So there there was there have been a series of high profile magazine leaders leaving in the last couple of years. Yeah. Sometimes on the business is sometimes in the editing side, and very often the through line is whether it stated or not is this person is leaving because the magazine businesses contracting. And there isn't the budget for them to get paid the gazillion dollars. They're getting paid or there. There's cutting and they don't want her to cutting or they just needed cheaper person. Graydon Carter just did a thing for Hollywood. Reporter we more or less says like this whole thing shrinking, and it's less fun for me. Deacon Jones has that job in part of her job is to is to run that thing at a at a smaller budget, but still having a big deal. How much of that is really laying? Right. Yeah. So how how different or applicable is pretty different. I mean, it was it's a pretty exciting time to be the editor in chief of the magazine. I feel that an atom also feels that. So he wasn't sort of. It wasn't a kind of. I mean, you should ask him. But I believe him when he. He says in public and private that it was truly a sense of personal exhaustion. It's not the right word. But but ready for something else? It's kind of surprising to me. It has been that. So many magazine editors are still interested in being in the job for as long as they sometimes are, you know, it doesn't necessarily because of the old days. It was a great gig. Right. Yeah. I mean, I guess that's budgets, but just you know, Adams, incredibly has an incredibly creative fertile mind. And the fun thing about this job is you're constantly reinventing things you're not only constantly looking at around the world and saying, oh, that's a story. We wanna do this is actually changing in the world. And let's notice it, but your demand Zine itself and the digital newsroom and the brands that were creating the the verticals all of that going to film television, podcasts events, there's so much to create all the time. So that is really fun and makes the job exciting. But it doesn't surprise me that after fifteen years of that animals like. Okay. Let's that's sort of see what else I've got in in me in specifically the kind of management drain was wearing on him. Yeah. So anyway, that's why he left, and it really didn't have anything to do with the business. But it was interesting. When when we were trying to plot out how to manage this announcement there, aren't that many playbook? So we could find of a successful transition in nagazine editorship, especially recently, it's all been kind of rocky. And I'm just so grateful that he sort of saw as part of his legacy transitioning. Well, you know, like that that was part he has set me up in every possible way to succeed. And that's also super stressful because I might not but like it's such a different situation compared to say, great number diga. Yeah. So let's talk about what you're going to do. But we're going to get quick break and hear from. Fine sponsor back with David Haskell in a minute. Today's show is brought to you by Kiwi. Co the script I'm reading wants me to look super old right now by telling you how children used to play when I was a kid a long long time ago. We had plastic army men, and we didn't learn anything. Maybe if you're really fancy gotta Star Wars figure you didn't learn effect. But today the way kids play has changed so much everything is geared towards learning. 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I'd say, hey, magazines, what's up with magazines with a magazine, isn't this all digital? But New York in particular has done a very good job of adapting and a lot of ways to digital world. Right. Yes. Shing aggressively online for a long time. And I think done a really good job of providing useful information, big important stories and also service he stuff, so you're getting both eyeballs and attention positive attention. How much how much of that was was your hand? Not that much. Yeah. You know, I think one way to look at the last fifteen years of Adams tenure and also the Washington family's ownership of this place is that we as a magazine figured out how to live how to be a digital publication and to bring the qualities of magazine nece to the digital world, and our magazine in particular that was like the big accomplishment, and I had very little to do with it. Most of my time was was editing. Big features, doing magazine editing. Yeah. And not that much time spent on decryption of of our verticals, with the exception of the strategists, which is which started just as I think the water in the magazine business know what it is. But others might not. We'll yes, really quickly one thing that we as a company real realized early on is that New York magazine is a general interest magazine, right. Has a very particular point of view and voice, and it's sort of known for its stylish. Journalism and all that stuff, but it's general interest, whereas on the internet what really performs what really works is deep obsessional reporting, and commentary and attitude around specific topics I want to I quite this brand with this thing. And that's why value. Yeah. Or like, you know, vulture, which is which is one of the one of the first verticals that we created New York magazine is always covered culture in a very obsessive way. But rather than just sort of at a lot of culture coverage to what New York magazine was digitally be created this thing on a nowhere called vulture. And it just was like repository of what's its motto for a long time has been mind of a credit card of a fan. Some people are consuming Voltaren. Don't know. Exactly. Right. So so that the big discovery was that we could create these these verticals of excitement and enthusiasm attitude. Bubba blah. And that they could completely live on their own independently you really truly could be and there are millions of them out there. Huge. Vulture fans and not really have that much of a leadership to the rest of what we're about same with the cut, and you know, there's five seven vulture, the cut intelligence or the strategist in grub street and strategies is the strategy the new yes strategist is named after a section of the magazine gives you service. Journalists tells you how to do life Moore's fashioned Centric. Right. Well, no, thought fashioned Centric. But it's practical Centric, so its main job in the magazine originally was how your strategies for getting through New York City, you know. And it's where our food coverage is this is the restaurant to go to. But also this thing is trending right now. And this is literally the the the best route. You know, we just did this thing on everything guy to umbrellas, and it included like what is the right way to walk through certain areas of the city to get rained on the least. And it's very specific does have some umbrella etiquette because people etiquette, exactly. And it also has these are the best umbrellas so. There's an aspect of what we were doing those always a lot of really rigorous testing a research in and filtering through our point of view to say this is worth buying and what we decided to do a few years ago is create a digital expression of the strategists that was all about internet shopping and saying that, you know, the internet like New York City is both overwhelmingly exciting and just over we recommend you buy this stuff. And that's what we do. So we say in a million different ways, and we have different forms for doing it. We look at what's out there in the world and say this is worth buying and it's a different business model for us than the rest of our because e commerce because it's he come if Iliad rather you're sending people to Amazon or the retailers getting a cut of that. That's you guys were early on that everyone's very interested in it. Yeah. New York Times bought wire-cutters. I think they in their filings. They said that's now doing fifty million dollars a year for them for sure BuzzFeed is pushing it and we're doing it locks media is still growing for you guys growing very quickly. It's a great business story for us. It's. Really exciting aditorial because it's business incentives. Are so in line with editorial excellence, you have to be trustworthy in order to convince people to click on the link, you know, and then if you do Amazon Norstrom or whoever's going to sell that product eventually is really appreciative of our referral because they know that when we refer something we genuinely believe it, and the people who are coming are quote unquote qualified, right? So they they pay us for that. And they have no influence over what we choose. So it's from the outside. It seems like the obvious problem here is you have a race to the bottom. Right where you have Amazon dominating this business, and then WalMart and a few other. And they they know that all the publishers really want this business and they can afford to give them less and less on each cut. I was just talking to someone who's doing this business, and they were providing the counterargument GT1.. Explain why. We're in a stronger position than the Amazons of the world are really in the center area. Few people can say that with a straight face. Well, they've got a great business. I'm not saying we're better business. But in this in this relationship in a world without storefronts. It's really hard for e commerce retailers to get people to discover products. You know, that is a dilemma that. They've got even though Amazon has everything has everything. But how are they going to get you to the some of the stuff? And so there, you know, in my opinion, it's a pretty sustainable business. If it's not, you know, you don't want to have all your eggs in one basket. And we don't we're we work with pretty much anybody who sells anything online, but I just see that ecosystem needing referral sources right Amazon as big as Amazon is they need you guys to funnel shoppers to him to buy specific, you know. So they'll pay us mall a few pennies like it's you know, it's not it's just cutting into a tiny bit of. Their margins. Share take some of it for for getting these people here. I think that'll keep going. I really do you know, and and from our point of view, we're we're more concerned is just making sure that we have on the business side relationships with a lot of different places. So that if Amazon is changing its plan they've already gone. They've already said once we're we're cutting the the fees for this in general will they did to. They're non preferred relationships, but if you are fewer generic link for voyage kind of blogger. Yeah, you're not as valuable to them. But you guys for the times. I'm sure a handful of other places that relationship is getting stronger overtime. Yes. Someone told me that they are actually going to expand in specific territories around the world because Amazon say we would like it if you went to country acts and generated more leads for us. Yeah. Which sounds both creepy and then our off supports journalism. We'll we'll take. Yep. That's all say, let's let's have the the wither MAG. Zien talk though. So you guys make great stuff online. And then there's stuff that is also online but exists in print, how do you demarcation market? This is an online only thing this deserves to be in the magazine or this should be in the magazine. Yeah. Because a reader I don't care. Yeah. Right. I mean, everything that we published shows up digital. So it's really just a question of what also is in the print product and historically the the kind of the way the the editorial operation was built the print magazine was really the engine for a lot of journalism and one thing I know I want to do is shift that a bit. So it's more issue case for it. But the engine exists outside of the print magazine. So we are, you know, over the years are verticals digital verticals in general have gotten more ambitious more layered in their approach borrowed a lot of the tools and magazine making their becoming real magazines. You know, and when you look at. Quote, unquote, enterprise journalism, which was traditionally the very expensive journalism that was happening in the magazine. And then that would show up on vulture and be the big bulge story vulture itself is making enterprise journalism, and it should be doing more of that. And so we'll get through this place were there somewhat. Now, it's not going to be completely there. But we will push more towards a place where the magazine is just every two weeks. What how can we put package at all together into something that has a lot of magazine drama, you know, magazines, or such a theatrical experience playing that because I I think I think again, I I moved to New York twenty plus years ago of magazines that I wanted to work at them. And I thought they were great products for a bunch of reasons, I think we'll economic reasons and also just culturally have become devalued, and it's hard to sort of explain how big a deal they were again even twenty years ago. Yeah. And again as a reader in reverberations, Li it's all my phone kind of all looks the same. You know, a great. You know, you did your your Biden story Joe Biden, creeped me out. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Right. And that's online. Yeah. And I can't imagine the magazine didn't run the magazine. And again, as it said, you know, I think I've said this is a New York magazine piece, but and cut and cut right? But as a reader like it's all the same stuff, and I value it, but don't valley, the idea of this sort of curated various specific thing kinda lost. I think even to someone who loves magazines. Yeah. I think that that's that's true. That's the world. We're in so much news comes at you in a kind of uniform way. And it's it's just the world we live in and I'm not saying that we're going to live in a different world. But they're Rama of a magazine. Well, you know, starting with the cover what you've got is this opportunity to shake people and say like what we just do. But this mayor Pete cover how about Pete like that was the cover line and took us, you know, it took most of my twenty four hours of Thursday into Friday, just focusing on that. And the deck the language grains of the cover to figure out. What is it that? We're actually going to say, and it was that important to me to get that language, right? Because it's a big jolt of a statement. We are kind of weird alive photograph that was both real and slightly, you know, cartoonish. And so, you know, from the very beginning of magazine cover can announce something can make something big happened. Right. And there's iconic Esquire magazine covered by famous magazine covers and even again fairly recently. If you were a magazine editor, you spend a lot of time thinking about how this would work on a newsstand. What would I mean, the new standard soon? Yeah. You know, it's not that. I'm we're not New York magazine's never really had a newsstand business. So actually that is special to us. We we're gonna make pretty always even more based on subscribers so the so the value of a cover for us isn't so much like you're walking in an airport, and you see it. I mean, that's great. It's marginal part of the business now and always kind of has been, but it's really just like. Oh, yeah. This. Why I subscribe because? Well, that's exciting or weird you're making someone who's already money feel better. And they also expect this is going to travel around the internet sort of brand for you. Yeah. Yeah. So that's you know, that's just one part of the magazine experience. But I've always appreciated kind of curated intentional dramatic walked through of my news. I mean, I find that. When I go to museum, I wanna know whether to turn right or left, and I want somebody to have guided me through what they think is the the right way to see something. So I sort of a bias of mine. But I think it's what's exciting to a lot of people about magazines is that you can really go on a journey in kind of regularized weekly biweekly monthly cadence, and it's kind of this form, right? Where there's the front of the book shorter snappier. But then once you get into that kind of how it all works. That's where I'm like, you don't care. Yeah. We're like, let's shake it up. None of those rules are important really the only thing that that that I would argue for in terms of a print magazine. Is just that it forces you to as editor spent a lot of attention to making a full experience, and it gives the reader a chance to break from the world and having experience. So that's that's the like the argument for prints. The core thing of what New York magazine is translates beyond print because it's about voice attitude and approach to journalism, you know. So it's the same reason. Like when people who still make albums care about track list in the order, even though most the stuff is gonna get this aggregated singles going to go out was going to stream it they still think it's important to like, this trek starts side and wasn't asides anymore. But still we're going to go and order. We're going to tell you a story. And I think you know, like, whatever you think of what apple news. Plus is the fact that they apple a tech company is in magazines matter in the world, I think what they're saying is not just that flip through cadence or the digital equivalent of that. But that there is a a type of content out in the world type of journalism that isn't newspapers, and it isn't nonfiction books, and it is. Documentaries on Netflix. But it's this other thing where you see it is a relationship that you can have with a brand of journalism that is that shares a point of view in an attitude with you, and is your sort of partner in understanding the modern world. So let's talk about apple news. Plus, you guys were prominently featured in it beca trae stir in that yet and that promo reel. She looked great. A lot of the magazine publishers are in it in part because they rented contractually they had this thing called texture sold it to apple and they're there. But you guys have always part of this new extra reported texture to become okay? Owners of text. We weren't. We had already had a relationship with, you know, there there are people not many of them who were reading us on texture already. So you go you you didn't need to be part of apple news. Plus, I'm not sure, okay. But we definitely decided it was it was worth jumping on. So I've talked about this a couple of times, I think it is a pretty cool experience. If you like. Magazines. Don't particularly care about any one magazine. Yeah. And it's kinda what apple is saying sort of like, but not on stage. Yeah. Like, if you re the same thing with the Wall Street Journal, if you read the Wall Street Journal, quote, unquote, premium content, but across a wide variety of rice stuff, and you're not to loyal to any one thing. So the upside for you guys is there's money. Uh-huh. Actually. And then theoretically, you're exposing your stuff to someone who maybe doesn't react stuff all the time. That's all good. The flip side is there's a real disincentive. I think to subscribe to New York magazine. Yeah. Getting texture because it's already in there. And you you know, you guys are getting a very very small slice of and one thing for us because we put everything on the internet. You could get it all in apple news regular, so we're ready giving you all of our content there. Now apple is coming to us and saying can we put it in this premium locked category, and we'll actually be paying you for some of the readers of it. And so that's sort of just so. Get away. We're getting get eight four the other thing that happened this year, the probably most significant second most significant thing after Adam leaving is that we launched a digital subscription business back in December. So now, we are asking our readers to pay five dollars a month a fifty dollars a year. And you know, if you like look at what we're about from a macro business thing. Pam washing or CEO's been here for three years. He made this big decision early on that even if we thought and we do think we can grow our advertising business. The overall business is better if it's diversified. And that there are these two other business models out there that are best for us. One is the affiliate revenue with strategist in one is a digital subscription business. And the cool thing about being an editor's both of those are basically rewarding. Good journalism. Right. It's just I as an editor I need to try to get some percentage of the fifty million people who are reading us. Each month to decide where that good that. They want to pay for it. You know, so. Okay, great. Because you you get five free articles or whatever it is have the quote unquote, dynamic paywall, which means you never really know what the tally is. But at some point, if you're you gotta tap on the shoulder to shoulder, and you get a full wall. And it says you're up for the month. Please subscribe. So I mean how I mean when you go to apple news, then again, which is going to allow me ten paying for now. Yeah. Ten bucks, and I can review the New Yorker and everything else in there, and in theory when I get to your tap on the shoulder and the pay wall goes up online. Oh, I don't I don't get paid you directly. I'm already thinking about this. Yeah. That's a that might happen with enough frequency that the whole thing doesn't work for us. So you know question. We, of course, we don't know. And and we'll we'll see the sense is that there is a different two different. Use cases. Really that. There are people who are going to get to us from apple news. And they're really not, you know, there's a huge number of them first of all and for the most part, they're not the people who are ready. Owners are gonna flip through it. Yeah. And I know folks at the New Yorker have sort of made a separate argument, if you really love us, the best experience of us is going to be on our sites. If you're kind of New Yorkers online editor said, please don't go through a texture through apple news. Plus, please subscribe to us directly. Yeah. And I would say the more thing if you really like us, you're going to get the best experience from us, and that's on us to make sure from a product point of view, we're giving you the best version of us. But if you're you know, if you're just sort of casually interested in content. I think I think apple news is probably worth it definitely deal. So this is I mean, even though you guys are prominently featured in your big part of this, you this as sort of an experiment. Yeah. I think we have we as a company. I mean, I don't know what the deal is. And how much flexibility we have? But I know that just strategically jury's out on how much we'll cannibalize the digital subscription. And you have to get out at some point. I know honestly, I think you do. I think we do. I think you do. Yeah. I'm sure all of this sort of business conversation, right? In in newspapers, the in the old model, the editors were proudly sort of ignorant of how any part of the business part of it in magazines. I think there's always been more of a blend right? Because you're you're selling the product, you're well aware of it. Yeah. Magazine experiences. I've I've had the, you know, even if there's a even if there's a clear wall between edit and advertising guys, we're talking all the time. Yeah. Yeah. And I've also felt always like a kind of entrepreneurial editor. So I'm not afraid of any of the business conversations. I'm very protective and careful of our journalism and brand. So I'd rather be in the room and say this, let's double down on the strategist. I mean, it was really important to me that we grow that business. It felt like completely in line with who we are as a company and would would facilitate a lot of really great journalism that was on brands. I was like this is a business that's going to work. Let's let's go deep into it. But then we've had other conversations about x y and z ways of making money. Would obviously be intention with editorial quality, and that's super important to me to be in that room and say, Nope. Not that one. Let's not do that, you know and make that case, and it's not just being defensive right? It's like, I think we should pursue this. Let's do this good revenue. Exactly. Exactly. I I really think and it's very fun to be PAM's partner in this because she is very interested in. Ways of growing the business. That is smart, but she's also very discerning and has really good taste, by the way is a nice combo to have in a boss last fall. There was a story saying you guys are hired a banker and you were exploring alternatives. I haven't heard anything about that. It sounds like didn't go anywhere. Yeah. You know, the the magazines owned by the Washington family. They're they're pretty private families talk to them about what happened, but I will say that at the town hall meeting our big company by meeting in February Pam was asked by one of our boys. Are we still for sale and she said, no? And in all of my conversations with her to that is a true answer. Good. We got it out of the way. Good. I I know it was a one more business question for you. What what percent of the business would percent of the revenues comes from strategists? And ecommerce and that stuff right now that I don't know I know that the a couple years ago the whole company had about eighty five percent of its business was was advertising and this year we're on track. Pam is telling me the other day to be around sixty percent. And then the advertising business is growing because it's not just the at business. Exactly. Right. So they add numbers are growing up some new terms, but. Going down pretty significantly in. And this is the news though for publishers. They I mean, at least for Pam. Yeah. And for this company, I think it's like if you find a few different business models that all in different ways make money on high quality content. You know, and so anyway that number I can give you it's ruined pays for advertising to be at around sixty. So, but I can't break it out between the others. What I'll get the punch formulator. Yeah, we make money from ads. So this may be an ad rankled. Someone told me that you should be a character on the show. They feel about. Oh, you know as Josh Sapien who who we all liked so producer Golda is going to be a new character on the show. We'll take a quick break back with David. This episode is brought to you by marine layer, the guys who make the most absurdly soft t shirts and other items you've ever worn. Mike an atom from marine layer took a full year to nail their custom fabric. And it turns out the softest. Teas are made from trees. 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You can return pretty much anything you want for up to a year. You magic returning something after a year, and they offer free shipping and free returns on all US orders. Now, you can get fifteen percent off your first order, just visit marine layer dot com. Enter the promo code Peter at checkout. That's marine layer dot com. Promo code, Peter. You'll be happy order close from marine layer. Back here with David Haskell who just told me he's having fun. Hold him to that speaking fun. Let's talk about politics, and how how you guys think about your role in covering politics general in two thousand twenty again, clearly I like we talked about you guys are New York magazine, but you are a national pumping nation. Everyone wants to cover Trump everyone's going to cover the democratic race. How do you stand out in that crowd? That's a conversation. We're having all the time. And it changes all the time. You know, I look looking back in the last few presidential cycles. It's kind of been interesting to study what our main has been John and was writing for us for the two dozen eight race, and and the kind of did drama that was a premium cable show, you know, the the primary between Clinton Obama the race itself. So narrative focused two thousand twelve and also sixteen by that point we had a kind of murderers row of commentary, but Frank rich. Jon Chait, Rebecca trader Andrew Sullivan, giving really super smart analysis of what's going on. In addition to obviously, a lot of strong reporting also. And so I'm sort of just in a kind of theoretical in my head way that you try to plan things. And then in reality things just happen. Trying to think of how we can really meet the twenty twenty race with our greatest assets. But you know, if you look at the piece that newsy wrote about Pete, it was actually pretty quick turnaround piece. We decided just a few weeks ago that our internal Pete obsession was actually maybe worth covering and so we're like all right. Let's do this. The classic New York magazine piece. She's gonna fly into Hampshire. She's gonna watch him. She can have a lot of conversations with him. But she's not just going to sort of write a piece that transcribes conversations is going to download all of the sort of wisdom that she's picked up of what's going on. You're going to be a super smart. Observer what's happening? Meanwhile, we're getting a photographer out to New Hampshire to try to document what these surreal? Early primary meetings are there, and then we're also on the phone with with the campaign to convince them to give us a portrait session because at that could come through that really felts me like a cover, and then we realized that he's actually going to be announcing right when the pieces coming out, and that's just yet. It's like luck that you sort of fall into and sort of make for yourself. It's funny. All those elements are like still how big magazine covers are made. Which is a combination of like, we have a gut feeling of this is. Yeah, interesting person. And we're trying to catch that wave and we wanna be out a little bit early. Yeah. And then by putting him on the cover. We're now part of the wave perpetuate yet. And then also like you mentioned needing a photo. Like again, I think a lot of folks especially who's consume stuff online. You don't think about photography? And if you know if you're us at vox Meads, generally, go to the Getty, right? This is really important for you guys. Like the photo is a big deal important. Yeah. If you don't get the photo, it makes it less compelling for you makes it less likely to put on the cover. Yeah. Or it's a bigger cover challenge. Like, you know, I think by the end of that cycle of closing that issue. I was sure that that should be the cover with or without the picture. And so if it wasn't going to be that, then that's really fun. Because we as a magazine don't have the kind of cover constraints that we don't need to make a commercial cover. We can really do anything. We want on it. So it could be all type just a bunch of words. It could beat. We had this weird picture of not weird. But it kinda cute picture of the back of a teenager's head where he had shaved Pete for president twenty twenty. And I was like all right. Well, that could be a cover anything could be. But it you just needed to like solve the cover problem and thinking about politics going forward. I really do want to apply. Our journalistic talent to each of the candidates while there is still an opportunity to be observing a lot of them. But at the same time right about the systems of how this place how a race works the money behind it. You know, New York is always near magazines always been particularly. Strong on the media of politics, and the money of politics, and the kind of behind the scenes house something is constructed. So there's a lot of that that I want to be able to do. And then also we all feel like you never wanna feel stuck hostage to the horse race coverage. So when where can be surprising, and who is the kind of who's the Senator who's not on anyone's radar right now. But an incredible story right now, you know, I definitely want to be signing into the heat of the twenty twenty stuff. Not just the obvious twenty twenty piece I've been asking people this a couple years. There was all this soul-searching post Trump on the media. What are we get wrong? How to fix it? I feel like maybe guys were exempt from that conversation because you weren't supposed to be sort of providing a national take. But maybe I'm wrong. Well, I don't know. I mean, we were definitely part of that conversation. And and I mean, obviously had already about re reading about Clinton, and she was deep into that. You guys it really conscious. Of the magazine that was out on election day on two thousand sixteen was big. It was a piece by Barbara Kruger where you had a big image of Donald Trump and said loser on it. And it wasn't. But he is. But yeah, I mean a lot I'm not afraid of anticipating the future, I think we're actually really good at that. A lot of our political commentary is okay. What does this mean next? We're talking right now as the Muller report zooms being released any minute now and the Giardi out it's out. Okay. So the job of our political writers and editors is not just to say, what's in it. But what how is that changing the near future? And so we're going to get that wrong. Sometimes, and there's a lot of conversations we're having internally about responsibility, and how much has actually changed in the world of of political media. What did what did the two thousand sixteen election permanently due in? What way did it permanently change? How you can responsibly cover politics that we are. Deepen those conversations. Trump is Trump famously is sort of a New York Centric media just likes the post. Yeah. On guys in his media. Don't you? I mean likes quote, unquote, like he's he's complained about us. But consumes it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So he's aware he's aware. That's good. Or is it good? Good. You want you want to present United States reading your copy? Yeah. You wanna be in the conversation. You know, last question is about whisky, you have a side hustle. I do you run a New York magazine, and you have your own distillery. How did that? Well, it's it's a business. I started with a friend of mine from college, and he at the time was working in an architecture firm. I was working at a magazine economy just crashed both of those jobs seem pretty precarious. And we had this little hobby going on where he had brought us still back or about to moonshine back from eastern Kentucky brace from we bought a still on the internet remaking, illegal leaks. You aren't allowed to distill anything without a license in this country. But we were making some whiskey realized we could be the first in New York City to get a life. Scence if we moved quickly, and therefore always the oldest distillery New York City, and that seemed like a kind of older. That born. Yeah, actually birthday was last week. So we're we're officially nine years old. What's the name of the rent kings county distillery, and if you go to a certain kind of liquor store, meaning the ones all the time your stuff is all over the place. Yeah. That little bottle of moonshine. The big news in our businesses that were about to finally released to the world at seven fifty milliliter bottle, which is the average size bottle of liquor. But we started so small we were just not only the first in New York City. We have the smallest is still in America by factor of twenty or somewhere else. In the Brooklyn navy yard. Okay. But now we've we've amassed enough juice that we can put out a regular sized bottle, and that'll be a big deal, and you're gonna to branch out of whiskey or you go was he was well, the the big bet was to just be whisky distillery. We bought stills that were only good for whiskey and not gin, vodka and other stuff which was a departure from how a lot of other micro distilleries were building their businesses. So now that we've got a all we really do is whiskey, but we played with brandy, and we played with our version of tequila, you didn't make gin, and I had some kind of now. Look when the yeah, there's a lot in. Yeah. So I think around thirty distillers in New York City now. So I, but we were always the oldest your encounters. There's one there's one post from you. And it's like, I guess if you in a cornfield. Yeah, I don't I have such a I I don't know how to be on Twitter. I mean, I use it all day long as a way of reading the news. But in terms of expressing myself on Twitter is never made sense for me. You can't find a way, right? I used to kind of promote stories I worked on. But I just couldn't find a language that felt true to myself. So I deleted all of those before the news came out because I was like, okay. So you have the past. I have you made more than one post and made more than one. But none of them made any sense to me. Okay. So we can buy your liquor, anywhere, New York City and beyond. Yeah. We're in most states and a handful of other countries, we can buy your your magazine at a newsstand via apple new or just NY nag dot com. People can figure it out. You can pay an extra twenty bucks a year beyond your fifty and get it in your mailbox, which is also pretty cool. We we subscribe post-election. Yeah. Good. Yeah. I don't know for nude. I gotta check look at it. David. This is great. Thank you. Thank you so much for having. I will let you get back to reading the Miller report. Can't wait. Thank you guys for listening. Thanks to my producer. Arthur, thanks to Gilani Carter who recorded the show and his awesome in general. Thanks, joe. Robbie who edits the show? So it sounds even better than when we first made it thanks again to you guys for listening. Thanks in advance. For leaving. Nice comment for me. I'm apple podcast or Spotify. Where everyone listens and comments this Recode media CNN. Hey, everybody. I'm Neil Patel editor in chief of the verge. And this is the verge cast. I guess is the flagship podcast is the verge every week. We cover the latest in tech news reviews. We took a critical look at what is going on now. And next in the world with tech show hosted by me, our executive editor bone, not your friend and Paul Miller. It just feels like there's something wrong with all computers, though. Don't you think that sometimes we do that on Fridays and on Tuesdays interview episode IV in talking to all kinds of influential people in the world attack. We've talked to Microsoft founder Bill Gates about his philanthropic efforts. You can design systems without having to reveal any individuals particular medical record journalists academics, Lena Khan who thinks that we should be doing way more to break up giant companies like Amazon Facebook in hindsight. Allowing casebooks to buy up both what's up and Instagram proved been the wrong call and we talked to tech CEO's vizier Bill Baxter who explained exactly how smart TV manufacturers make their money. It's about post purchase monetization of the TV. It's ads. It's ads. Check us out every Friday to your everything intact. From new iphone leaks to breaking down. Facebook's ongoing issues of private. 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