Former Washington City Paper editor Michael Schaffer was named the top editor at Washingtonian magazine today, replacing current editor Garrett Graff, who announced in April he would be stepping down after five years at the helm of the monthly publication.

Schaffer, a D.C. native, edited City Paper from 2010 to 2012 before he decamped for The New Republic, where he served as the national magazine’s editorial director (and where he was my editor when I was a reporter-researcher there). This is the first time the top editor from this alt-weekly has crossed over to Washingtonian, a magazine with a typically older and more suburban demographic.

“I think I have a great foundation to build on at Washingtonian,” Schaffer writes in an email to City Desk. “I want to make a magazine that’s even more vibrant, even more fun, that does memorable, attention-getting journalism, produces service packages that set the agenda, and has a defining digital presence that makes it even more of a must-read.”
Prior to TNR and WCP, Schaffer was a reporter at U.S. News & World Report and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he served as a staff writer here from 1997 to 2000.

“His reporting career has reached from the war zones of Pakistan and Iraq to the American Pet Product Expo in Florida,” Publisher Cathy Merrill Williams wrote in a newsroom memo. “I have no doubt his varied background and interests will serve us and our readers well.”

Schaffer starts at his new post in late July, but wasn’t ready to take a jab at City Paper, even though we’re now his competition.

“Washington is a really well-covered city, and being in the mix with so many old friends will be lots of fun,” Schaffer emails. 

Photo by Ryan Donnell