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What are they Reading?

The NYRM annual survey of which magazines some of the nation’s top editors are (or aren’t) reading.

By Zeb Esselstyn

Our questions:
1) Which magazines do you consider indispensable reading?
2) Which magazines do you feel you should read but don’t?
3) Which magazine do you wish you could read, but is no longer published?


The Virginia Quarterly Review:
Ted Genoways, Editor
1) Which magazines do you consider indispensable reading?
For me, it remains The New Yorker and Harper’s at the top of the list, but there are many—National Geographic, Outside, Granta, Kenyon Review, New England Review.
2) Which magazines do you feel you should read but don’t?
I wish I were more diligent about The New Yorker. I read it, but it’s not a religion for me. Same goes for The New York Review of Books: more great stuff than I reliably get through before the next one arrives.
3) Which magazine do you wish you could read, but is no longer published?
I wish The American Mercury was still around because H.L. Mencken would have helped make the past seven years more bearable.


Andi Zeisler, Editorial/Creative Director
1) The New Yorker, Ms., In These Times and Good.
2) The Atlantic. I frequently get close to buying it but never do. I’ll steal it if I see a copy at the doctor’s office or at the gym. Also Spin. I used to love it, but the layouts these days give me hives.
3) Punk Planet. Its arts and cultural coverage was amazing. Also Hues, a multicultural women’s magazine that was published in the mid-to-late Nineties. Oh, and Sassy.


Texas Monthly:
Evan Smith, Editor and
Executive Vice President
1) The New Yorker: It’s like Scorsese. Even on a bad week, it’s 90 percent better than all the rest. New York: The magazine’s approach to service is pretty fabulous. Play, the New York Times sports magazine.
2) There are a number of magazines I scan online rather than read in print.
3) I have no greater love than going over old Spy magazines. 


Chris Napolitano,
Editorial Director
1) Rolling Stone: In many ways it’s much like Playboy, so I’m relieved when I crack it and find articles that don’t appeal to me. Too often I find pieces I’d love to run. Vanity Fair: It appeals to my feminine side and has the heft, feel and talent of a magazine at its peak. The New Yorker: I always scan it for the fiction, throw it on the floor where it breeds and multiplies and then read it in bunches. And the men’s books: Esquire, GQ and Maxim (for the pictures).
2) I guess the truest answer would be Harper’s, The Atlantic and The Economist. Also Biblical Archeological Review, which I read consistently for a few years, but I left it behind as I got busier.
3) American Heritage. Wait—after ceasing publication for a few months in 2007, I see in a Google search that it’s back in action as of its December 2007 issue. Who knew?


Us Weekly:
Janice Min, Editor in Chief
1) I actually don’t read magazines with much regularity other than my own. I prefer reading newspapers and news online.
2) It’s a terrible cliché. I wish I always read The New Yorker and The Economist, and also Metropolitan Home, but I don’t. I had subscriptions to The New Yorker and The Economist that lapsed, and I confess I felt an enormous burden lifted off of me. I knew they were magazines that I would enjoy, but somehow, I never prioritized them. Either one of my kids needed a bath, or I just found the siren call of watching Jon Stewart or a DVD too irresistible.
3) I miss the Entertainment Weekly of 15 years ago and the first incarnation of Spy.


Black Enterprise:
Alfred A. Edmond Jr.,
Editor in Chief
1) Jet is still the best thing going to find out who’s who and what’s happened in black America. Folio is still a must-read for me as a magazine industry pro. And Black Enterprise. On the personal front: Muscle & Fitness, a magazine I’d given up on about five years ago. American Media’s revamp finally won me back last year.
2) There are magazines I sometimes feel I should read more often or more thoroughly, such as ESPN The Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, The Source, Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Portfolio, Newsweek and Time.
3) I cannot think of one.


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