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Up close and personal with Joanna Coles, Hearst’s new chief content officer

40-plus minutes of sex, publishing and Snapchat talk with Kara Swisher.

Asa Mathat for Vox Media
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Joanna Coles, one of publishing’s biggest stars, is going to shine a bit brighter.

Hearst has named her “chief content officer” for its magazine unit, moving her up from her perch as Cosmo’s editor in chief. Hearst says Coles’s new title will let her work on “new magazine development activities, and spearhead efforts to extend Hearst brands into television, live events, and other new businesses.” The company will name a new Cosmo editor later today.

The promotion is a big one for Coles, but in retrospect not a surprising one.

Coles moved beyond the bounds of mere magazine editor some time ago, and is Hearst’s most high-profile talent. She’s the one, for instance, that has landed a board seat at Snapchat, the buzziest media platform of the moment.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Hearst gave Coles the promotion to make sure she stuck around. And it can’t be a coincidence that her new role seems quite similar to the one Condé Nast assigned to Vogue’s Anna Wintour, when it created an “artistic director” job for her three years ago.

Everyone who came to Recode’s Code Media conference this year got to see Coles’s star power up close and personal. She kicked off the event by appearing on stage in Kara Swisher’s trademark sunglasses and things got more interesting from there.

You can read a transcript of the fascinating interview here, and you can see the whole thing for yourself below:

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