New York Times names Joseph Kahn executive editor, to succeed Dean Baquet

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks into the New York Times building in New York

By Helen Coster

(Reuters) -The New York Times Co named Joseph Kahn executive editor on Tuesday, as it pursues a digital- and subscription-focused strategy bolstered by acquisitions in recent years.

Kahn, who has been the Times’ managing editor — the second-ranking title in the newsroom — since September 2016, succeeds Dean Baquet.

Baquet, 65, has been executive editor since 2014. The company said he will remain at the paper to lead a new venture, without giving further details.

“Some will interpret this promotion as a sign of confidence in our current path. That’s true,” New York Times Co Chairman and newspaper Publisher A.G. Sulzberger said in an internal memo sent Tuesday morning and seen by Reuters. “Under Dean and Joe, The Times has grown stronger in virtually every way.”

Added Sulzberger, “The Times has a longstanding practice of editors leaving the masthead at 65, which Dean wanted to honor given his strong belief that Joe was more than ready to fill his shoes.”

Under Baquet, the Times’ first Black executive editor, the 171-year-old newspaper navigated attacks from President Donald Trump, whose presidency led to a surge in paying readers.

In February the company announced it had reached its goal of 10 million subscriptions, years ahead of its 2025 target, and set a new target of at least 15 million subscribers by the end of 2027. The move toward more of a subscription-based model was an attempt to address the failings of the traditional advertising-based strategy in the digital era.

Under Baquet, the Times won 18 Pulitzer Prizes, considered the most prestigious in U.S. newspaper journalism. It expanded beyond its print and digital news base, introducing products in categories such as cooking, shopping advice and puzzles like the Wordle game, which it acquired in January.

That month the Times company also acquired the digital, subscription-based sports media business The Athletic for $550 million. In 2020, it bought Serial Productions, the company behind the popular “Serial” podcast, for more than $25 million. And in 2016, it bought the review sites The Wirecutter and the Sweethome for more than $30 million.

(Reporting by Helen Coster in New York; Additional reporting by Alistair Bell in Washington and Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Jonathan Oatis)