OLD Media Moves

Fortune combines print and digital staffs, announces promotions

June 8, 2017

Posted by Chris Roush

FortuneFortune editor Clifton Leaf sent out the following announcement on Thursday:

That masthead — you’ll notice as you read through the latest issue — has changed. We now have ONE roster of hugely talented people (rather than “print” and “digital” teams), which I’m happy to say reflects the true nature of how we work. We are all contributing across multiple platforms — Fortune.com, video, the print mag, newsletters, the cross-brand newsdesks, our growing number of conferences, dinners, and panel discussions, and more — every day.

To put some facts on that rhetoric, consider the first seven days of June—when we not only closed this jam-packed Fortune 500 issue (with a 12% year-over-year bump in ad revenue!), but also brought an incredible 6.1 million unique visitors to Fortune.com (viewing 10.1 million pages). And today, our editors are starring onstage at the standing-room-only Northside Innovation Festival in Brooklyn. Not bad for a week’s work.

It’s incredible what you’ve all been able to do, and I thank you deeply for your endless commitment to making Fortune the best that it can be.

Now, at the risk of burying the lede, on to some important staff news…

It gives me great pleasure to announce several promotions, all effective immediately:

Brian O’Keefe becomes Deputy Editor.
As all of you know, Brian has been a driving force behind so many of Fortune’s achievements—as an editor, writer, conference co-chair and more. I can’t begin to name the number of award-winning stories, packages, and Fortune 500 issues Brian has edited in his 17 years here. The fact that he has pulled doubled-duty as a feature writer—earning, in fact, his latest award from the New York Press Club earlier this week for his November cover story on Red Tape—is all the more impressive. He’s written some of the most memorable stories we’ve published at Fortune in recent years—on Tony Robbins, Ray Kurzweil, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, and the legendary Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, to name a few—and penned incisive features on everything from child labor in the chocolate industry to the secretive Bridgewater hedge fund to Uber’s global tax shell game to the business of Nascar to deep-dive features on oil and commodities. He has been a co-chair of Brainstorm E and, now, Brainstorm Design, and is shepherding our new Fortune 500 ETF rollout as well.

I wish I could say he’ll put some of these roles aside as he moves into this next one as Deputy Editor, but I doubt he will. But then, that’s what makes Brian, Brian.

Kristen Bellstrom becomes Deputy Digital Editor
Here’s a telling fact: Since Kristen took over the helm of The Broadsheet, the newsletter’s subscriber base has grown by nearly 300%—and Kristen has made that happen by making it a smart, buzzy, must-read everyday. In 2016, she spearheaded the launch of a spinoff newsletter, World’s Most Powerful Women, which is now approaching 10,000 subscribers. It was clear from the moment Kristen joined Fortune from Money magazine in March 2015, that we had shamelessly stolen an incredible talent from our sister publication. As the first senior editor of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women vertical, she has led some of our most important business reporting on MPWs like Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, and Mary Barra, and brought in star contributors such as Melinda Gates, Anita Hill and Sallie Krawcheck. She also manages editorial coverage of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women and MPW Next Gen Summits, is a co-chair of Next Gen, and a co-host and developer of our video series Broad Strokes.

As Deputy Digital Editor, she’ll continue to lead in the many roles above and also help Andrew Nusca edit and manage the site.

Anne VanderMey becomes a Senior Editor
Since she began editing Briefing in late 2014, the magazine section has grown from three to seven pages and gotten smarter, sharper, faster, and better looking. She has managed that section, headed up our Best Companies to Work For franchise, and edited other features, all while editing—and writing—an endless supply of politics, leadership, media, and finance stories for the website. (For our “Best Companies” franchise alone, she publishes about two dozen rankings per year, and many other articles.) And regular viewers of Fortune.com video will recognize our multifaceted Ms. VanderMey as a frequent co-host/feisty contestant/interviewer/guest on Fortune Live, Tech Debate, Fortune Rants, Fortune Luminaries, Facebook Live, and Broad Strokes. On top of that, she edits our International MPW newsletter every day.

In her new role as senior editor, she will, of course, do all this and more—using her incisive editing chops on features as well.

Jen Wieczner becomes a Senior Writer
Since arriving at Fortune in November 2013, Jen has profiled several unconventional and controversial CEOs at inflection points in their leadership, including Athenahealth’s hyperactive Jonathan Bush as he fought off a short-seller’s attack, and Mylan’s Heather Bresch in the midst of a three-way hostile takeover battle (and later, when her EpiPen pricing became a national scandal). She pushed to get the first substantive interview with disgraced hedge fund titan Steve Cohen—which she landed, naturally—and turned it into one of the buzziest features of last year, getting Cohen to speak candidly about the insider trading allegations that brought down his firm. But it has been Jen’s lightning fast, tireless, resourceful, and smart-as-heck reporting for the Web that has made her a one-woman financial reporting superstar. There’s a good reason why her stories earn zillions of clicks, and why this year, she received the American Society of Magazine Editors “Next” award honoring journalists under 30—for reporting work in both print and online.

Erika Fry becomes a Senior Writer
Fortune’s special sauce has always been the deep-dive, long-form, talk-about read—like “Hot Mess,” a strange and amazing tale about a scandal over instant noodles in India and how it shook mighty Nestle to its core…or “Cleavers at Ten Paces,” a strange and amazing tale about the family dueling over the Benihana restaurant empire…or “Swimming Upstream,” a strange and amazing tale about the bible-quoting, love-peddling showman who hopes to save SeaWorld. And the strange and amazing truth is that Erika Fry wrote all of these…and so many more great reads for us. Her peers have noticed, no surprise: “Hot Mess” won a New York Press Club just this past Monday, and before that a SABEW award and the Newswomen’s Club’s FrontPage Award—and Erika is a finalist for the prestigious Loeb Award later this month.

She and Jen will continue to tell great stories for the magazine on every platform.

Finally, you’ll also notice a couple of additional title changes that will better reflect the superstar skills of some of your colleagues.

The brilliant Nick Varchaver — who, as you all know, will be the recipient of the Loeb’s Lawrence Minard Award later this month (essentially, the business press’s lifetime achievement award for editing) — becomes Investigations Editor, a title befitting his rare and special talents. Matt Heimer, a preternaturally gifted story doc for features on every platform, digital and print, assumes the title of Features Editor. (That title just beat out “Mr. Fix-It” by a hair, in case you’re wondering.) And the multitalented Leigh Gallagher — who, to our great fortune, is putting on her writing cap once more — will become a Senior Editor at Large. And in that role, of course, she’ll continue to manage special projects as well as be an eloquent representative for Fortune on stage, screen, and in outside media.

Please join me in congratulating your colleagues. And thank you all once again for making Fortune as damn good as it is.


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