Rolling Stone editor in chief Noah Shachtman exits amid clash with boss

Rolling Stone editor in chief Noah Shachtman announced Friday that he is stepping down, following editorial differences with Gus Wenner, the magazine’s chief executive officer.

The hard-charging editor, who will exit the company on March 1, said in a statement that he was “so proud” of everything he and his team have accomplished over his two-and-a-half-year tenure, but he hinted that he clashed on the vision for the music and culture-centric outlet with his 33-year-old boss.

“It’s the right decision, one Gus Wenner and I made after many discussions about the editorial direction of the brand,” Shachtman wrote in a memo to staffers.

“Culture-shaping scoops and profiles, a National Magazine Award, an Emmy nomination, more than two billion views in the last year alone, and, most importantly, the assembling of a genuinely remarkable team,” Shachtman said, listing the publication’s recent accomplishments.

In a separate memo, Wenner thanked Shachtman and said the editor will be replaced in the interim by Sean Woods, who currently serves as the glossy’s deputy editor, and digital director Lisa Tozzi.

Rolling Stone editor in chief Noah Shachtman is leaving the magazine on March 1, after editorial differences with CEO Gus Wenner. Getty Images for Concordia Summit

Rolling Stone will search for a new editor in chief in the coming weeks.

“I have an incredible amount of confidence and trust in our entire team and could not be more excited about the next chapter in Rolling Stone’s evolution,” Wenner said in his memo.

Shachtman, 52, said he will continue to be involved with the pop culture publication as a contributing writer, while working on a start-up project.

When he took the helm of Rolling Stone in 2021, Shachtman, the former editor of The Daily Beast, spoke openly about his desire to change the legacy magazine’s culture and spend more time scrutinizing the rich and the powerful.

Shachtman clashed editorially with Rolling Stone CEO Gus Wenner. WireImage

“The new Rolling Stone is going to confront monsters,” Shachtman said at the time, “even — especially — if it means confronting monsters the magazine helped elevate.”

Rolling Stone has been under fire as of late with Wenner’s father, Jann, a co-founder of Rolling Stone, facing criticism over comments he made to The New York Times that were widely denounced as sexist and racist.

In the interview, he said that black and female musicians were not “articulate” enough to be included in his new book, which featured white, male rock stars.

Schactman was brought in to shake up the legacy media brand, which
rose to prominence under co-founder Jann Wenner. AP

The scandal ultimately led to Jann Wenner being removed from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last September.

At the time, Rolling Stone described the comments as “offensive” and Shachtman published a piece examining the magazine’s history. Wenner’s son, Gus also denounced his father’s comments.

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