Question: What is the significance of the new 26-year old managing editor of the New Yorker?
Calvin Trillin: I think that’s a misunderstanding of who the managing editor is, or what the managing editor does at The New Yorker. There didn’t used to be any of those titles, but now there are and I don’t know who that is now, but oh, maybe 10 or 15 years ago it was somebody who was the same age; we called him editor boy, and the managing editor is not like the managing editor of a news magazine who’s in charge of something. He’s actually a sort of traffic cop who makes sure that whatever piece is ready for that issue gets in or something. It’s kind of hard to follow because each of these magazines has a different way of showing who’s in charge. At Time it was always the managing editor, and the editor is sort of like the governor general of Canada. It doesn’t really have any say in anything. At The Times the magazine editor is the number two, and the executive editor is the boss, but at The New Yorker to the extent that anybody knows anybody’s title which is unusual and there’s no masthead you’ll notice at The New Yorker. I think the managing editor just means the guy who’s sort of in charge of the logistics. It’s not a decision making job.
Recorded on: October 8, 2009