New 'Texas Monthly' Editor Adds Lifestyle Content

The new editor-in-chief of Texas Monthly, Tim Taliaferro, wants to spice up the magazine — known for covering state politics, the environment, business and education — with more lifestyle content.

In an interview with Columbia Journalism Review, Taliaferro said “lifestyle sells Texas Monthly better. Literary circles have a bias against lifestyle, but lifestyle is an important part of the magazine, including travel and food.”

The interview caused controversy within the media world, given that Texas Monthly is known for its long-form and political coverage.

In an editor’s note published Wednesday, Taliaferro said he had given the CJR the “wrong impression” and wrote that he was committed to Texas Monthly s regular content.



Taliaferro said he had meant to highlight “the relative emphasis we have placed on news and politics versus lifestyle and long-form,” he said in the note.

He wrote: “Let me first say that I know Texans care about politics, and deeply, especially in these times. Let me also say that I am committed to covering politics, as Texas Monthly has done since its inception, and to uphold its tradition of long-form journalism. What I was trying to point out is that there is much more to the Texas identity.”

As a general-interest magazine, Texas Monthly has to expand its coverage, he noted. “In the age of quality online journalism, there are other outfits better equipped to cover the daily ins and outs of our political process, such as how a proposed bill makes its way through the Legislature.”

Instead, Texas Monthly “must play the role it always has: evaluate that bill on its merits, and consider its potential impact on the state, for a wide audience,” he wrote. "there is much more that the magazine can do that will make us more interesting to more Texans,” Taliaferro added.

“Texans care about politics, yes, but they also want to know about barbecue. And energy. And music. And football,” he wrote.

Taliaferro was likely referencing one of the more shocking quotes in the CJR piece, in which he said things like “Texans don’t care about politics” and citing stories like one on transgender bathrooms as an example of what type of coverage he wants to cut.

Since its founding in 1973, Texas Monthly has won 13 national magazine awards for public interest, politics, feature writing and general excellence.

Taliaferro is the former vice president for communications and digital strategy for University of Texas alumni association Texas Exes and the editor in chief of Alcalde, the university’s alumni magazine.

Last fall,Texas Monthly returned to Texas ownership after 18-years in the hands of Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corporation. It was sold to the Hobby family for $25 million, through its private-equity firm Genesis Park LP.

The Hobbys are a well-known political and business family in Texas, who once owned The Houston Post newspaper — now part of The Houston Chronicle — as well as TV and radio stations in Houston.

According to the magazine’s Web site, Texas Monthly has a paid circulation of 300,000 and is read by more than 2 million monthly.
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