The Week That Was

All Over But the Managing Editor Decision

Joseph Kahn is looking like a lock to be The New York Times’s next executive editor. But who will be his second-in-command and potential successor?

We’ve been trying to get updated odds on who will succeed Dean Baquet as executive editor of The New York Times, but our custom-built data analysis rig A.G. AI 3000 has been distracted lately. When The New York Times acquired Wordle at the end of January, he holed up trying to crack its algorithm to figure out how to consistently guess the word in no more than two tries. It’s been an epic bot-on-bot battle. But after weeks of spitting out nothing but patterns of green and yellow squares, he has emerged to play the game he was designed for and convey a new set of New York Times succession odds. Wordle may remain a mystery, but the question of who will replace Baquet is not: barring some Election Needle-like forecasting catastrophe, current managing editor Joseph Kahn will be the next executive editor of The New York Times. But there is another question that has piqued A.G. AI 3000’s curiosity: Who will replace Kahn (if anyone) as The Times second-in-command? 

So we’re creating a second contest within a contest: In addition to the top prize for the bettor who wins the most $TFP bucks by correctly predicting the next executive editor, we’re introducing a secondary prize for correctly predicting who is appointed the next managing editor. All bets on executive editor, including those already placed, will carry over to the managing editor betting pool. And, when a managing editor is named, winning bets will pay out the same odds as for executive editor. The person who finishes with the most $TFP bucks in the managing editor pool wins one free annual subscription to The Fine Print to give to a friend or colleague. 

If you haven’t entered yet, the time to place your bets is now! No bets will be taken after the next executive editor is announced — and from what A.G. AI 3000 is telling us, that could be coming very soon. If you need a recap of contenders, please consult our original NYT Succession betting guide.

By all accounts, and to no one’s surprise, managing editor Joe Kahn (+50 100) remains a lock for the top job. The lack of movement on the question has led A.G. AI 3000 to shorten his odds even further. Still, if you want to spend your $TFP on Kahn, we won’t stop you!

The next tier of contenders has been where the most odds movement has been, and these also happen to be the four primary contenders in the managing editor conversation. Deputy managing editor Carolyn Ryan (+750 250) gets the top odds because of her frequent appearances in newsroom management initiatives, like last year’s diversity report, as well as her more recent role of documenting Baquet’s Pizza Wednesdays to help encourage people to work out of the office. Just below her is assistant managing editor Marc Lacey (+1000 250), who has been kept very busy as of late running the Live team as one massive breaking news story — the election, Covid, and now Ukraine — follows another. Also performing many managing editor-like duties of late has been deputy managing editor Cliff Levy (+1000 250), whose latest remit has been running the paper’s re-empowered Standards team. But, if Kahn is the next executive editor, he would be following the first Black executive editor, Baquet, and its first female editor, Jill Abramson. It would set a discordant tone if another white man was Kahn’s managing editor. Rounding out the major contenders for the managing editorship is deputy managing editor Rebecca Blumenstein (+1250 750), who joined the paper in 2017 from The Wall Street Journal, jumping directly onto the masthead before adding a title reporting directly to A.G. Sulzberger as the deputy editor, publisher’s office. While she hasn’t spent as much time working in the Times newsrooms as most previous managing editors, she does know Kahn well: They first met when they were both reporters stationed in Beijing. Recently, she’s had a more public presence representing the paper in coverage, all of which led A.G. AI 3000 to bump up her odds.

It’s entirely possible that the new managing editor will not be announced at the same time as the next executive editor. When Bill Keller was elevated from managing editor to executive editor in 2003, The Times waited two weeks before it filled the managing editor spot, in that case naming two: Jill Abramson as managing editor for news gathering and Michael Geddes as managing editor for news operations. In 2011, when Abramson was named executive editor, Baquet replaced her as managing editor, and two years later, Geddes took a buyout, leaving Baquet as the sole managing editor. But when Baquet was in turn promoted to executive editor in 2014, The Times announced five months later that it would “retire the title of managing editor” and named a quartet of deputy executive editors instead. Two years later, the title was revived, and Kahn was named to the post. 

For wagering purposes, a winner will be declared when a managing editor is named. In the event of more than one person receiving the title, bets on winning candidates will split the pool. If the managing editor title is retired again — or someone not on our odds chart is selected — it will be treated as a push.

While all individual bets are confidential, here’s where the TFP$ bucks wagered so far have gone.

The pool is open to all subscribers — if you haven’t placed your bets, click here! — and here’s a recap of the rules: Every subscriber has been given TFP$ 1,000 to wager as you see fit. You can place your bets any time before The Times announces the next executive editor, and all bets will be placed confidentially. Whoever finishes with the most TFP$ bucks wins: three annual subscriptions to gift to your valued colleagues or loved ones, eternal bragging rights, probably some Fine Print swag, and maybe a trophy. Happy betting!