In a world that has become increasingly intertwined with technology, the career of Pamela Maffei McCarthy ’74 proves that all people really want to do is read a good magazine.
McCarthy began her career in 1974 as a proofreader at Esquire. She slowly climbed up the corporate ladder, first becoming copy editor and then executive editor.
In 1984, McCarthy became the managing editor of Vanity Fair. She worked with editor in chief Tina Brown to reinvent the magazine by bringing on board new writers and photographers such as Annie Leibovitz. The magazine won seven National Magazine Awards; advertising and circulation quadrupled.
In 1992, McCarthy followed Brown to the New Yorker, becoming managing editor. Two years later, McCarthy kept all the responsibilities of an editor while playing a larger part in the magazine’s corporate management as senior vice president of the New Yorker Magazine, Inc.
In 1995, she moved up once again, becoming deputy editor. She manages a staff of 120 editors and 70 contributing writers.
In the age of iPad apps with multiple interactive features, McCarthy has helped the magazine stay true to its text-intense roots, even in its digital form. “That was really important to us: to create an app all about reading,” she told the New York Times in 2011. “There are some bells and whistles, but we’re very careful about that. We think about whether or not they add any value. And if they don’t, out the window they go.”