Harper’s publisher Rick MacArthur on why publishers should be less dependent on strict editorial goals

“You can’t calculate every morning what will work financially,” Harper’s publisher Rick MacArthur says. “I meet these people all the time who say, ‘If we just get our editors to think more digitally, or more about consumer category X, Y and Z, we will be successful.’ It doesn’t work that way and is very boring. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be disciplined and have budgets and think of a business-like approach. But it has become a fetish that we must manage our way to profitability by setting very specific editorial goals and anything outside verboten.”