Jones will replace Graydon Carter, who’s been with Vanity Fair since 1992.
There are myriad reasons why Radhika Jones, soon-to-be-former New York Times books editorial director, will be a great replacement for Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair. That being said, the thing that gave me perhaps the most confidence is Jones citing Tina Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries in her introduction interview.
When asked “What are your interests in Hollywood and society, some of Vanity Fair’s strongest suits?” Jones’ answer was: “I also happen to have read Tina Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries this summer, and found it interesting to think about how she positioned high and low culture, because they’re so much more mixed now, and it’s an interesting proposition for a magazine like Vanity Fair to sort that out…It feels like our culture is calling for it.”
The announcement of Jones as Carter’s replacement was a surprise to some after Carter’s celebrity editor tenure. It signifies a new era magazines have been heading toward for…well…a while now. Pubs no longer have the money and celebrity capital to give to their editors and writers, and, in this new era of thoughtful restraint, Jones makes sense.
The New York Times called it a “remarkable transfer of power at a magazine long defined by Mr. Carter’s sensibility — a stew of Anglophilia, liberal politics, old-style Hollywood glamour and a sense of mischief.” Jones is moving from her post as editorial director of the New York Times book department, with a previous stint as deputy managing editor at Time magazine, where she reimagined the Time 100 franchise with a more diverse mix of celebrities and visionaries.
If there’s someone to reinvigorate Vanity Fair into a publication with a slightly less stale old Hollywood feel (fewer Kennedy covers, perhaps?), Jones seems like the person to do so with care. In response to the question, “What’s one thing you’d want people to know about you?” Jones said, “That I’m an omnivore, culturally speaking, and story-wise too. I’m always ready to be interested in something. That’s my default position.”