Time magazine launches ‘Ideas,’ an opinion vertical, with ex-Newsweek editor Jon Meacham

Time magazine--through its "Time 100," "Person of the Year" and other signature editorial packages--has access to an extensive range of "thought leaders." But other than packaging certain branded events (such as the recent live Q-and-A with George Clooney), the newsweekly so far hasn't done all that much to leverage such figures into its editorial product line.

But that seems about to change, to judge by an internal email that Time editor Rick Stengel has distributed to his staff announcing a new "Ideas" vertical designed for just that purpose.

Regular contributors to the new section will include Jon Meacham, ex-editor of Time-rival Newsweek; Touré, whose piece for ESPN The Magazine on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick's "blackness" sparked criticism; ex-Newsweek-er and author Dominique Browning; Newark Mayor Cory Booker; and others.

The first batch of "Ideas" includes a column by Anita Hill of Clarence Thomas fame and another potentially controversial column by Touré entitled "When Whites Can Use the N-Word."

There's been a rise in opinion publishing by major media outlets of late, and the Time concept sounds similar to "Bloomberg View," Bloomberg's first op-ed section, which launched in May. (The Bloomberg concept sounded similar to The Atlantic's "Voices.")

"It's not like there's a dearth of opinion on the web," Stengel wrote. "But no other site will offer the range and diversity of the views that we will publish. It will be smart, fun and fearless."

Read Stengel's full memo below:

From: Richard Stengel
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2011 08:23:25 -0400
Subject: TIME Ideas

Every day TIME.com publishes a wide range of analysis and opinion pieces on topics ranging from politics and world affairs to cultural and social issues. But until now, there hasn't been one central destination on the site where regular and outside contributors can opine on major issues and trends in the news. Now, with the launch of TIME Ideas, there is. Under the direction of senior editor Ruth Davis Konigsberg and produced by reporter/producer Frances Romero, the ideas vertical will bring an array of respected new voices to TIME.com, offering, as the site's tagline reads, "Essential insights. Great debates. Informed opinions" that drive the conversation online and off. It's not like there's a dearth of opinion on the web, but no other site will offer the range and diversity of the views that we will publish. It will be smart, fun and fearless.

Weekly regular contributors include Jon Meacham, Larry Doyle, Amy Murphy Paul, Touré, Dominique Browning, Judith Warner, Karen Hughes and Mark Penn, and Martin Lindstrom. Contributors will be drawn from TIME 100 honorees as well as a diverse mix of personalities, such as: Anita Hill, Cory Booker, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Goleman, Kirstin Gillibrand, Wes Moore, Nicholas Christakis among others. The section will also feature some of time.com's existing columnists such as Andrew Rotherham, Adam Cohen, and Josh Ozersky, among others. In addition, TIME Ideas will include The Opinionatrix, a daily roundup of the most provocative opinions on the Web; letters to the editor; and famous letters from the TIME archives.

Special thanks goes out to Simon Fung who produced the designs, to Srivaths Lakshmi who was the lead developer, to Will Cole and Henry Chan who provided technical support and to Shanta Speller who managed the project under an extremely tight deadline. Thanks go as well to Christine Lim and Katie Rooney who were both incredibly helpful building the site and leading the editorial content production. And once again to Ruth, who has been the editorial impresario of the whole thing.

------ End of Forwarded Message

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