The top editor at TIME magazine for the last seven years will be leaving journalism to go work for the State Department.
Rick Stengel is at least the 15th reporter to go to work for the Obama administration. Stengel will be the new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. White House press secretary Jay Carney also left TIME to go work in Washington, The Atlantic Wire reported.
According to the State Department’s website, Stengel’s position will require him to lead “America’s public diplomacy outreach, which includes communications with international audiences, cultural programming, academic grants, educational exchanges, international visitor programs and U.S. government efforts to confront ideological support for terrorism.”
A senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation said, “One of the topics Rick focused a great deal on during his seven years as TIME’s editor was national service and making the case for why it’s so important. Now he’s taking his own advice and moving on to a senior role at the State Department, where he will have the chance to serve his country. Rick knows the subject matter well, having covered international affairs and interviewed numerous world leaders — including the man in the news today, Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
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It is anticipated that Nancy Gibbs, TIME’s deputy managing editor, will succeed Stengel.
“When it comes to Nancy, you already know the historic stuff: most covers written,” Stengel wrote in a memo announcing Gibbs’ promotion to deputy managing editor in 2011. “What you don’t know is how Nancy has applied some of those same cover-writing skills to her work as a manager: she has brought great creativity to dealing with the business side, she has excelled at planning stories and covers many months in advance, and she has been a perfect mentor to writers and editors.”
A former TIME editor thinks that Stengel’s departure could be good for all involved. “I think he’s looking for something fresh to do, and the magazine’s looking for some fresh leadership because it’s such a different place now than when he came in,” said the unnamed editor.