NYT Succession Odds

And the Winner of the Betting Pool Is…

Congratulations to Wesley Lowery for successfully wagering on Joseph Kahn being named The New York Times executive editor


When we informed the victors of The Fine Print’s NYT Succession Odds betting pool that they had successfully wagered on managing editor Joe Kahn succeeding Dean Baquet as executive editor, the first word we repeatedly received in response was: “Ha!”

The winner of the top prize — three subscriptions to gift to friends or colleagues or loved ones — is Pulitzer Prize recipient, CBS News correspondent (and one of our suggestions to be the next New York Times media columnist) Wesley Lowery who went all-in on Kahn early in the contest. The original pseudonym he picked reflected his wagering strategy: “SafeBet.” “The point of betting is to win the money, and it’s been clear for a while that Joe Kahn was going to be the next NYT executive editor,” he told us. “So, as much as I admired a lot of the other people in the betting pool (some of whom are friends!), there wasn’t any other name I was betting a single dollar on. For what it’s worth, I don’t know Kahn at all and wish him the absolute best.” (To be clear: No legal currency was wagered in this particular contest, only TFP$ bucks.)

Coming in second is former Futurism publisher James Del. “My middling success in gambling (and life!) is owed entirely to a lesson I learned living in Vegas for a year: Go all in early and be ready to walk away no matter the outcome,” he said. “Excellent advice for anyone running a publication in 2022 I think, including Joe. And me, I guess.” Cashing in on the benefits of his runner-up glory, he added: “For more gambling-inspired media leadership content, subscribe to my Substack?”

Rounding out the top five were those who bet under the pseudonyms “Nytprognosticator,” “NYT Succession Odds” (catchy… has a nice ring to it!), and “Todd.” We are only revealing the real names of the winners who gave us express permission to do so, but by all means, feel free to reveal yourselves and gloat in the public forum of your preference. But, we would be remiss if we didn’t offer congratulations to our lanterne rouge winner, the bettor who came in last amongst the people who placed any of their TFP$ bucks on Kahn: Take a bow, Choire Sicha!

In March, reflecting the inevitability of Kahn’s ascent, we introduced a secondary contest in our betting pool: Who would be the next managing editor of The New York Times? All bets placed in the executive editor pool were carried over toward this supplemental wager. On Wednesday, The Times announced that Carolyn Ryan and Marc Lacey would share the title. To reflect that two people were given the title, any bets placed on either of them were paid out at half their odds, which gave us the above results… Congratulations, David Minkin, senior vice president of strategic planning and delivery at Dow Jones!

Minkin also responded with “Ha!” when informed of his win. He spread his TFP$ wagers across five different contenders, but a heavy bet on Ryan was enough to claim the category’s top prize. “I’m somewhat surprised I won given I’ve never worked at The Times and, although I work in media, I’ve never worked in a newsroom,” he said. “That being said, my win is irrefutable proof that when you work hard at your passions, it’ll pay off (in this case, my passion is media Kremlinology).”

Our 4th and 5th place bettors had equal winnings, so to resolve the fourth-place tie, we turned to the guesses as to when the executive editor announcement would come. Whoever gave the closest date won. Daily Beast politics reporter Will Sommer got closer by guessing that the announcement would come in February instead of the guess by “WestCoastYtBoi” that it would be last Christmas.

With the end of this New York Times succession betting cycle, our A.G. AI 3000, who has so obligingly calculated our odds throughout the contest, is going on sabbatical. We offered to send him to Playa del Carmen, Bhutan, or even New Paltz as a token of our gratitude, but he insisted he’s okay where he is, crammed into The Fine Print’s HVAC closet. Ever since The Times acquired The Athletic, our bot has been obsessed with applying his newfound gambling powers to sports betting. We’ll leave him to decoding the NBA playoffs and the start of baseball season and turn to him again next time a question of succession arises at The Times! (Mark your calendars: Joe Kahn turns 65 on August 19, 2029!)