David Haskell, a longtime deputy editor at New York magazine, will become its editor in chief on April 1, inheriting a glossy biweekly and a suite of websites devoted to pursuits like fashion, food, shopping and politics. He succeeds Adam Moss, who is stepping down after 15 years at the helm.
The appointment of Mr. Haskell, 39, on Wednesday is a sea change for a publication that has reached journalistic heights under Mr. Moss — collecting dozens of National Magazine Awards and, last year, a Pulitzer Prize — even as it struggled to find financial stability in a topsy-turvy environment for the news industry.
Mr. Moss, working with the company’s chief executive, Pamela Wasserstein, reinvented New York as a digital company dabbling in e-commerce, TV spinoffs and live events. Since 2016, Mr. Haskell has split his duties between editing (one of his projects, celebrities’ stories of moving to the city, became a book) and imagining the future of the business.
“I feel so grateful for the opportunity, and obviously so daunted,” Mr. Haskell said in an interview on Wednesday, shortly before an address to the staff. “Anyone who’s a student of narratives knows how dangerous it is to take something over at the top of its game.”
A protégé of Mr. Moss, Mr. Haskell is the sort of professionally omnivorous, type-A New Yorker who might merit a feature in his magazine’s pages.
He is a ceramist and sculptor, with gallery representation in TriBeCa. (His gallerist calls his work “an exploration of the natural world via wheel-thrown forms.”) He is a part-time whiskey maker who hosts barbecues at the distillery he co-founded in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He studied architectural history at Cambridge University after college at Yale, where he sang in the a cappella group the Whiffenpoofs.
Oh, and he works in magazines, too.
After cofounding Topic, a cult favorite print publication, in his early 20s, Mr. Haskell joined New York magazine in 2007. He edits much of the political coverage and later worked closely with Ms. Wasserstein on podcasts, book projects and a new shopping site, The Strategist.
In his new role, Mr. Haskell faces some uncertainty. Ms. Wasserstein, whose family owns New York Media, the magazine’s parent company, has spoken with potential financial partners, though no deal appears imminent. Recently, the staff formed a union and an online paywall was introduced.
“I don’t really know a time in magazine journalism that hasn’t been terrifying,” Mr. Haskell said. “That’s all I know. And in the midst of all of it, we have continued to put out work that has made me so proud.”
On the matter of the union, he said, “I’m happy for the staff. They thought really hard about whether to unionize and they came to a conclusion that was pretty close to unanimous.”
As for his side gigs, sculpture and spirits, Mr. Haskell, who lives near Chinatown with his husband, a designer, said he wants to keep them up. The distillery “has grown,” he said, “and it doesn’t need me that much.” As for ceramics, “they are just a wonderful, small, but meaningful part of my life. I think it will stay that way.”
Mr. Haskell grew up in New York City and Westport, Conn., but he said he identified most strongly as a New Yorker. “I am a citizen of it, a student of it, a champion for it,” he said of New York — the city, not the magazine, though it seemed the words could apply to both.
So is he thinking about his first cover?
Mr. Haskell paused. “It’ll matter as much as any print cover,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll ever not be nervous about the next cover. That is the thing that will always be terrifying.”