Last Thursday and Friday nights, Michael Duffy, deputy managing editor of Time magazine, was on ABC TV talking to Tony Jones and Matt Wordsworth respectively trying to explain the Republican Party’s National Convention in Cleveland. The question now is: will we see Duffy reprise that role at this week’s Democratic Party National Convention in Philadelphia after his big job promotion on Friday?

As part of a sweeping revamp of Time Inc’s structure and magazine management, Duffy was named as editorial director across the entire company, adding to his previous role as deputy managing editor of Time magazine. It sounds like the sort of multi-tasking role so common to more and more print companies at all levels. Fingers crossed Duffy will have time to explain to Australian viewers this week’s nomination of Hillary Clinton as the party’s candidate for the November 8 battle with Trump.

Duffy will be overseeing the editorial side of a diverse set of magazines now grouped in four divisions (some would say “silos”). Each division will be overseen by an editorial director and not a pure publisher (media reports say that role is on the way out at Time Inc). According to a memo to staff from Alan Murray, Time Inc’s new chief content officer (he was appointed 10 days ago), the new structure is intended to allow the company to “to take advantage of opportunities that cut across individual titles, with a special focus on digital content and video production and distribution”. NB: not print.

But is there going to be enough room for Duffy? Murray said in his memo, according to Poynter:

“All titles will be divided into four groups, each headed by an editorial director who will be charged with finding new ways to work together to grow our audience and our business across brands, new ways to take advantage of digital and video opportunities that may cut across brands and new efficiencies in how we operate across brands. The editorial directors will report to me.”

These flurry of changes come just over two years after Time Warner spun off Time Inc to exist on its own as a standalone print business. Since becoming independent, Time Inc’s shares have lost more than 30% of their value — but they are up 10% so far in 2016, with much of that rise happening in the past couple of months.

Peter Fray

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