Magazines are “aspirational objects,” says Richard Stengel, Time’s managing editor. A magazine “is something that comes into your house, it’s something that you want to keep around—you want it to be beautiful, you want it to be special, you want it to be unique.” Speaking on February 21 at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, Stengel—who, in addition to being a journalist, is also a former Rhodes Scholar, professor, and political speech writer—tried to place that aspirational quality in the context of the paradigm shift the magazine industry is currently undergoing. “As journalism progresses through the twenty-first century,” journalists are increasingly becoming moderators and curators, he says, “basically constructing the way you consume news.”

Speaking as part of the J-School’s Delacorte lecture series, which invites magazine-industry leaders to share their expertise with students, Stengel discussed, among other topics, his recent Time op-ed calling for the end of newspapers’ candidate endorsements; Time’s ongoing migration to the Web; the relationship between magazine articles and the Great Man theory of history; and the secret to making a publication both timely and timeless.

An audio file of the talk is available here. Enjoy.

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Previous Delacorte lectures:

Jon Meacham, Newsweek

Ted Genoways, Virginia Quarterly Review