Richard Stengel

Richard Stengel

Ask a question about 'Richard Stengel'
Start a new discussion about 'Richard Stengel'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
Richard "Rick" Stengel is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 editor, journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 and author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

 and is Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine's 16th managing editor
Managing editor
A managing editor is a senior member of a publication's management team.In the United States, a managing editor oversees and coordinates the publication's editorial activities...

. While best known for his work for Time, he has written a number of books including a collaboration with Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

 on Mandela's autobiography. Prior to taking up his role as managing editor of Time in 2006, Stengel was the president and chief executive officer
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

 of the National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center is an organization that seeks to expand awareness and understanding of the United States Constitution and operates a museum to advance those purposes....


Early life and education

Stengel was born and brought up in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. He attended Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 and played on the Princeton Tigers
Princeton Tigers men's basketball
The Princeton Tigers men's basketball team is the intercollegiate men's basketball program representing Princeton University. The school competes in the Ivy League in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association . The Tigers play home basketball games at the Jadwin Gymnasium in...

College basketball
College basketball most often refers to the USA basketball competitive governance structure established by the National Collegiate Athletic Association . Basketball in the NCAA is divided into three divisions: Division I, Division II and Division III....

 team as part of the 1975 National Invitation Tournament
National Invitation Tournament
The National Invitation Tournament is a men's college basketball tournament operated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. There are two NIT events each season. The first, played in November and known as the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off , was founded in 1985...

. He graduated from Princeton magna cum laude
Latin honors
Latin honors are Latin phrases used to indicate the level of academic distinction with which an academic degree was earned. This system is primarily used in the United States, Canada, and in many countries of continental Europe, though some institutions also use the English translation of these...

 in 1977. After college, he won a Rhodes Scholarship
Rhodes Scholarship
The Rhodes Scholarship, named after Cecil Rhodes, is an international postgraduate award for study at the University of Oxford. It was the first large-scale programme of international scholarships, and is widely considered the "world's most prestigious scholarship" by many public sources such as...

 and travelled to England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to study English and history at Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church or house of Christ, and thus sometimes known as The House), is one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England...


Early career

Stengel joined Time in 1981 and contributed to the magazine through the early and mid-1980s, including articles on South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, which he also covered for Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

 magazine. He became a senior writer and essayist for Time, covering both the 1988
United States presidential election, 1988
The United States presidential election of 1988 featured no incumbent president, as President Ronald Reagan was unable to seek re-election after serving the maximum two terms allowed by the Twenty-second Amendment. Reagan's Vice President, George H. W. Bush, won the Republican nomination, while the...

 and 1996 presidential campaign
United States presidential election, 1996
The United States presidential election of 1996 was a contest between the Democratic national ticket of President Bill Clinton of Arkansas and Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee and the Republican national ticket of former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas for President and former Housing Secretary Jack...


While working for Time, Stengel also wrote for The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

, The New Republic
The New Republic
The magazine has also published two articles concerning income inequality, largely criticizing conservative economists for their attempts to deny the existence or negative effect increasing income inequality is having on the United States...

, Spy
SPY is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* SPY , ticker symbol for Standard & Poor's Depositary Receipts* SPY , a satirical monthly, trademarked all-caps* SPY , airport code for San Pédro, Côte d'Ivoire...

, and the New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 and appeared on television as a commentator, even contributing to Indecision '92, the 1992 Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated....

 coverage of the Democratic Convention in New York. Using his experiences as a journalist as a basis, in 1998 Stengel taught a course at Princeton on "Politics and the Press". He was one of the original on-air contributors for MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...


Stengel left Time in 1999, to become a senior advisor and chief speechwriter
A speechwriter is a person who is hired to prepare and write speeches that will be delivered by another person. Speechwriters are used by many senior-level elected officials and executives in the government and private sectors.-Skills and training:...

 for Bill Bradley
Bill Bradley
William Warren "Bill" Bradley is an American hall of fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, and former three-term Democratic U.S. Senator from New Jersey. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party's nomination for President in the 2000 election.Bradley was born and raised in a suburb of St....

 who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 nomination for the 2000 presidential election
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....


Stengel returned to Time in 2000 and took on the role of managing editor of As announced by Time Inc.
Time Inc.
Time Inc. is a subsidiary of the media conglomerate Time Warner, the company formed by the 1990 merger of the original Time Inc. and Warner Communications. It publishes 130 magazines, most notably its namesake, Time...

 in May 2000, Stengel replaced Richard Duncan in the role and took on the responsibilities of overseeing news coverage and editorial content. He later held several other roles at Time, including a period as national editor of the magazine.

National Constitution Center

Stengel became the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, a museum and education center in Philadelphia on March 1, 2004. He left his role as national editor of Time in February 2004 to replace Joseph M. Torsella as CEO of the center, with the role of raising the center's profile, adding to its endowment, and increasing the number of visitors. At the Constitution Center, Stengel was responsible for starting the Peter Jennings Institute, offering constitutional training for journalists; Constitution High, a charter school for students interested in history and government; summer teacher institutes; and brought the Liberty Medal
Philadelphia Liberty Medal
The Liberty Medal is an annual award administered by the National Constitution Center of the United States to recognize leadership in the pursuit of freedom. It was originally founded by The Philadelphia Foundation. In 2006 an agreement was made with the National Constitution Center that the NCC...

 to the organization.

Managing editor of Time

In 2006 Stengel once again returned to Time, this time as managing editor of the magazine. The appointment was announced on May 17, 2006 by the Editor in Chief
Editor in chief
An editor-in-chief is a publication's primary editor, having final responsibility for the operations and policies. Additionally, the editor-in-chief is held accountable for delegating tasks to staff members as well as keeping up with the time it takes them to complete their task...

 of Time Inc., John Huey, and he officially entered the role on June 15, 2006 as the 16th managing editor of the magazine, which was in its 83rd year at the time. In his role as managing editor, Stengel oversees Time magazine, which is one of the largest magazines worldwide, and, as well as Time Books, and Time for Kids.

The first major initiative Stengel announced as managing editor was to change the magazine's newsstand date to Friday, starting in early 2007. Following this, Stengel implemented an ambitious graphic redesign and changes in the magazine's content, stating that he wanted the magazine to be more selective and to represent "knowledge" rather than "undigested information." He increased reporting on war and politics, giving Time a more focused editorial profile. In his first year as managing editor, Stengel selected "You" as Time's "Person of the Year", which was the subject of much media coverage and debate. In 2010, Time chose another social media-oriented "Person of the Year", Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

 founder Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. He is best known for co-creating the social networking site Facebook, of which he is chief executive and president...


In 2008, Stengel approved the changing of Times emblematic red border for only the second time since its adoption. The border was changed to green for a special issue focused on the environment. The cover, which included an altered version of Joe Rosenthal
Joe Rosenthal
Joseph John Rosenthal was an American photographer who received the Pulitzer Prize for his iconic World War II photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima. His picture became one of the best-known photographs of the war.-Early life:Joseph Rosenthal was born on...

's iconic Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.The photograph was extremely...

 photograph—substituting a tree for the American flag—was criticized by some veterans groups. Explaining the analogy, Stengel stated his belief that there "needs to be an effort along the lines of preparing for World War II to combat global warming and climate change".

Under Stengel's leadership, Time has reported on significant world events such as its coverage of the Iraq war, which he describes in an editorial as necessary in order to remind people not to "turn away",
and the 2008 presidential campaign. Following the election, president-elect Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 was selected by Stengel as "Person of the Year" for Obama's 14th appearance on Times cover in 2008. Stengel writes editorials for Time, including a 2010 piece explaining their use on Time's cover of a portrait of an 18-year-old Afghan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 woman whose nose and ears had been cut off by the Taliban as a punishment for running away from her in-laws. For a Time cover story in December 2010, Stengel interviewed WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks is an international self-described not-for-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organisation, claimed a database of more...

 spokesperson Julian Assange
Julian Assange
Julian Paul Assange is an Australian publisher, journalist, writer, computer programmer and Internet activist. He is the editor in chief of WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website and conduit for worldwide news leaks with the stated purpose of creating open governments.WikiLeaks has published material...

 over Skype
Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chat over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system...

, in which Assange called for the resignation of United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...


Stengel was listed as number 41 on Newsweeks 2010 "Power 50" list in November 2010. He also regularly appears on shows such as CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

's American Morning
American Morning
American Morning is the morning television show on CNN. It premiered in 2001.-About the show:American Morning is hosted by Ashleigh Banfield, Zoraida Sambolin & Soledad O'Brien. Others who appear regularly are Rob Marciano with the weather, Sunny Hostin on legal news, and CNN senior medical...

 and MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

's Morning Joe
Morning Joe
Morning Joe is a weekday morning talk show on MSNBC, with Joe Scarborough discussing the news of the day in a panel format with co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist. It was created as the replacement for Imus in the Morning, which was canceled in April 2007 after simulcasting on MSNBC since 1996...

 to promote the magazine.

National Service Movement

In September 2007, Stengel wrote a Time cover story called "The Case For National Service" in which he argued that Americans needed to redouble their efforts to get involved in community service and volunteerism, and that the presidential candidates needed to make the issue a top priority in the 2008 presidential campaign. Through this essay, Stengel became involved with national service groups Be the Change, City Year, Civic Enterprises, and others to form ServiceNation, a coalition of more than 100 organizations dedicated to promoting national service and volunteerism.

ServiceNation announced that it had secured both U.S. Presidential candidates to participate in Presidential Forum on National Service at Columbia University in New York City on September 11, 2008. Stengel served as co-moderator of the forum, along with PBS journalist Judy Woodruff
Judy Woodruff
Judy Woodruff is an American television news anchor and journalist.Woodruff is a Board Member at the IWMF .-Broadcast journalism career:...

, and both Senators Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 and John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 answered questions in front of a live audience at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 about their plans for national service.

On September 12, 2008, Stengel was a featured speaker at the ServiceNation Summit in New York, along with Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Bouvier Kennedy is an American author and attorney. She is a member of the influential Kennedy family and the only surviving child of U.S. President John F...

, Senator Hillary Clinton, First Lady Laura Bush
Laura Bush
Laura Lane Welch Bush is the wife of the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush. She was the First Lady of the United States from January 20, 2001, to January 20, 2009. She has held a love of books and reading since childhood and her life and education have reflected that interest...

 and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg
Michael Rubens Bloomberg is the current Mayor of New York City. With a net worth of $19.5 billion in 2011, he is also the 12th-richest person in the United States...

. In February 2009, Stengel testified alongside Usher Raymond, former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford
Harris Wofford
Harris Llewellyn Wofford served as a Democratic U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania from 1991 to 1995 and as the fifth president of Bryn Mawr College, and is a noted advocate of national service and volunteering...

 and others, in front of the United States House Committee on Education and Labor about the importance of national service, leading to the passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act or Serve America Act was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on March 9, 2009, by Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York. Originally titled the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act , the bill reauthorizes and...

 (H.R. 1388). Among other provisions, the bill helped to establish a Summer of Service Program, increase the number of AmeriCorps
AmeriCorps is a U.S. federal government program that was created under President Bill Clinton by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 and later expanded by 50 percent under President George W. Bush...

 opportunities and establish a nationwide Call to Service Campaign.

Stengel was the recipient of two Citizen of the Year awards, including one for 2010, which was awarded on September 17, 2010 at the Annual National Conference on Citizenship. He has also been presented with the 2010 Lifetime of Idealism Award, awarded to him by City Year Washington, D.C. for "his commitment to promoting and expanding opportunities for Americans to serve".


Stengel has authored several books including January Sun: One Day, Three Lives, A South African Town, a non-fiction work about the lives of three men in rural South Africa, published in 1990 and You're Too Kind: A Brief History of Flattery a popular history of flattery, published in 2000. His most recently published book is called Mandela's Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love and Courage which was released in March 2010 and is based on Stengel's personal interactions with Nelson Mandela. The book has drawn praise from President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra is an Indian medical doctor, public speaker, and writer on subjects such as spirituality, Ayurveda and mind-body medicine. Chopra began his career as an endocrinologist and later shifted his focus to alternative medicine. Chopra now runs his own medical center, with a focus on...

, and Harvard's Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

The book that Stengel is best known for is his collaboration with Nelson Mandela on Mandela's autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

, Long Walk to Freedom
Long Walk to Freedom (book)
Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiographical work written by Nelson Mandela, and published in 1995 by Little Brown & Co. The book profiles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison. Mandela was once regarded as a terrorist but he is now regarded as uncontroversial...

. In 1992 he signed a ghostwriting deal with publishers Little, Brown
Little, Brown and Company
Little, Brown and Company is a publishing house established by Charles Coffin Little and his partner, James Brown. Since 2006 it has been a constituent unit of Hachette Book Group USA.-19th century:...

 to work on the book, having first been cleared by the African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 as a suitable author. The book was published in 1995, and was praised by the Financial Times, which stated: "Their collaboration produced surely one of the great autobiographies of the 20th century". Stengel later served as co-producer
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

 of the 1996 documentary film
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

Mandela (film)
Mandela is a 1996 documentary film directed by Angus Gibson and Jo Menell. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.-Synopsis:...

, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Personal life

Stengel is married to Mary Pfaff, a native of South Africa. They have two sons. The couple met while Stengel was in South Africa working on Nelson Mandela's autobiography and Mandela is godfather to their oldest son, Gabriel.

External links

Further reading