Hendrik Hertzberg spent much of his early career at the New Yorker and says he's always thought of returning. This month, he does – big time.
Hertzberg, who worked at the New Yorker as a staff writer from 1969 to 1977, has been named executive editor by newly appointed New Yorker Editor Tina Brown . He leaves the New Republic, where he was twice editor and most recently senior editor. Brown, who left Vanity Fair, has been replaced by Spy co-founder and New York Observer Editor Graydon Carter .
Hertzberg, 49, says he "did not hesitate at all" when Brown offered him the position over breakfast while both attended the Democratic National Convention, even though they didn't discuss his job duties. "I knew I wanted the job," he says. "I didn't ask what it was."
Although Hertzberg says he and Brown have no specific plans for revamping the 67-year-old magazine, he concedes that they do have "all sorts of ideas bouncing around." When pressed, he laughs. "We'll just have to wait and see, won't we? It's always more fun when it's a surprise."
After his first stint at the New Yorker, Hertzberg moved to Washington to become chief speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter . He became editor of the New Republic in 1981, stepped down in 1985 to accept a fellowship at Harvard University, and took over the top spot again in 1989 until last year.
Hertzberg says he looks forward to moving back to New York, "a place where people talk about politics, but not all the time."