Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Who will edit Tatler?

Tales of the Runway & I love nothing more than a good industry gossip and we have been debating today who will take over from Geordie Greig at Tatler now that he’s been officially announced as the new editor of London’s prestigious daily, The Evening Standard. Of course, it’s been common knowledge in the media that this move was happening and his possible successors will have been jockeying for position for weeks.

It’s a difficult seat to fill: Tatler may often be derided for being the reading matter of society fluff, but as one of England’s oldest magazines, founded in the 18th Century, it often sets an interesting agenda: Tina Brown & then the glorious Mark Boxer made it a must read in the 80s, ex editor Jane Proctor recommended Liz Hurley to Estee Lauder and both Michael Roberts & Izzy Blow were fashion directors there. The writing often leaves a lot to be desired, (an old friend who subbed (copy edited) there told me that Tatler contributors were the worst writers she had ever had the misfortune with which to work - and the most precious), but it’s still surprisingly influential.

Names being bandied about for the position include:
Frontrunner: Emily Sheffield, current deputy editor of Vogue. Apart from the obvious advantages, she is David Cameron’s sister in law.

Sarah Bailey, ex. editor of British Elle, who was deputy editor at US Harper’s before moving to British Harper’s as Lucy Yeoman’s number two. Positives: widely liked, strong fashion - and therefore advertising - contacts, transatlantic kudos and CN MD Nicholas Coleridge loves to poach NatMags staff.

Given Coleridge’s liking of newspaper people, Catherine Ostler of The Evening Standard’s ES magazine & Michele Lavery of The Saturday Telegraph Magazine must also be in the frame. (The Sunday Times Style's Tiffany Darke is heading off on maternity leave imminently.)

Sarah Miller, current editor of British Condé Nast Traveller. Launched CNT in 1997, so due for a change by now.

Outsiders could include Giles Hattersley, ex Arena editor, now back at The Sunday Times, and British ex Tatler deputy editor Tina Gaudoin, now in New York at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.

Then again, Coleridge does like to appoint the unusual. Miller was an untested magazine editor in chief (she was features editor at The Saturday Telegraph magazine before CNT), as was Geordie Grieg who was a newspaper man through and through before heading to Tatler, albeit one who went to Eton & to Oxford.

What is certain is that in this market he can’t afford any mistakes. With advertising revenues for traditional media plunging through the floor by the month, he needs someone whom advertisers trust to keep both the content relevant and circulation figures steady.