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New York Times Editor Plans ‘Need-to-Read’ Digital Magazine

New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson said she’s planning a new digital magazine that will be a “need to read” with multimedia content.

The project, separate from the newspaper’s weekly Sunday print magazine, is being led by Sam Sifton, formerly the national editor at the Times, Abramson said today in a memo to employees. Sifton, who used to cover food for the newspaper, will also develop a new dining-news product, she said.

The executive editor cited the success of the Times’ "Snow Fall" feature -- a multimedia story about an avalanche in the Cascade Mountain range -- as an example of the kinds of articles the new magazine could include.

The Times, the second-largest U.S. newspaper after the Wall Street Journal, is hastening the development of online features as the Internet siphons away print advertising. Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson announced plans in April to create a lower-priced subscription to access the Times site and specialized rates for coverage of topics such as technology or politics.

The new lower-priced initiative, called Need to Know, will be designed for “quick and periodic dips into the news,” according to Abramson’s note to staff. Its content will be shaped by Cliff Levy, a deputy metro editor, she said.

Skunk Works

In addition, Abramson announced the creation of a “skunk-works team,” which will come up with new digital offerings for the publisher. The group will be led by Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, the son of Times Co. Chairman Arthur Sulzberger. Arthur Gregg, currently a metro editor, has been a national correspondent and metro reporter since joining the Times in 2009.

David Perpich, Arthur Gregg’s cousin and a member of the Ochs-Sulzberger family that controls the newspaper, will also be working on the company’s new digital efforts, according to the memo.

Other staff changes include the promotion of Tom Bodkin to deputy managing editor in addition to his title as chief creative officer. Alison Mitchell has been named editor of the national desk.

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