Newsweek managing editor Mark Whitaker was named the weekly news magazine's editor Tuesday, succeeding the late Maynard Parker and becoming the first black editor of a major U.S. news weekly.
Whitaker, 41, is a 21-year veteran of Newsweek who began as an intern and rose through various editorial posts, overseeing coverage of such events as the Wall Street crash of 1987, Princess Diana's death and the Monica Lewinsky saga.
The new managing editors will be Ann McDaniel, who is currently the magazine's Washington bureau chief, assistant managing editor and chief of correspondents; and Jon Meacham, national affairs editor, the magazine announced Tuesday.
Whitaker said he will focus on expanding the No. 2 news weekly's coverage of science, technology, education and family issues, while trying to attract younger readers.
Along with Richard Smith, Newsweek's chairman and editor in chief, Whitaker had been running the magazine in Parker's absence during his illness and was considered a favorite to succeed the longtime editor.
Parker died last month at age 58 of complications from pneumonia after being diagnosed with leukemia last November. Parker had returned to work in June but fell ill again and was hospitalized in September.
Parker helped Newsweek close the gap with its larger rival, Time, after becoming editor in 1982. Newsweek, which is owned by The Washington Post Co., has circulation of about 3.2 million, compared with 4.1 million for Time.
"Maynard was unique and had tremendous energy and drive. We differ a little bit in personality, but I have every bit as much of a commitment to the excellence of the magazine and I tend to be just as relentless in keeping Newsweek on top," Whitaker said.
Before becoming managing editor two years ago, Whitaker was assistant managing editor from 1991 to 1996, helping to expand Newsweek's technology coverage and writing occasional essays on race.
After joining Newsweek as an intern in San Francisco in 1977, Whitaker worked as a stringer and intern in Boston, Washington, London and Paris.
He became a full-time reporter in 1981, working in the magazine's international section before becoming business editor in 1987. He headed the business section for four years, overseeing coverage of the Black Monday crash on Wall Street and insider-trading scandals.
Written By Eric R. Quinones