May 25, 2017 Last Updated 3:40 pm

Apple hires Lauren Kern to be editor-in-chief at Apple News

Kern has been an executive editor at New York magazine since 2014, and before that was deputy editor at The New York Times Magazine

The Apple News app is getting an editor-in-chief, Lauren Kern, who has been Executive Editor at New York magazine. Kern is reportedly to begin at Apple on June 2.

As if typical of Apple, the company made no announcement other than to confirm the hire. Media reporters are speculating as to what Apple may be up to — but, as usual, the publishing community will be the last to know.

Apple’s Apple News app has not been as criticized for fake news as Facebook or Google. Rather, the criticism surrounding the Cupertino company is always its secrecy and its unwillingness to communicate with its publishing partners. Hiring an editor-in-chief and not saying anything won’t help.

Kern has had two stints with New York Media, the first was six years starting in 2004. She left as Editorial Director in 2010 to join The New York Times Magazine as deputy editor. Kern has a bachelor’s degree in history from Rice University.

Apple News is often called the app that replaced the Newsstand, but that is technically not accurate. The original Newsstand was simply a dedicated folder that contained digital edition apps for newspapers and magazines. Publishers could enter the Newsstand but never leave it (they would have to launch a new app outside the Newsstand). Some readers and publishers complained that apps that launched in the Newsstand were then hard to find as those who installed the apps did not understand that they would find them already in the Newsstand folder.

When Apple killed off the Newsstand it simply created a new App Store category called Magazines & Newspapers and all existing apps inside the Newsstand could then be find there inside the App Store. This scheme continues to this day.

At the same time, the Apple News app was launched. To get inside the Apple News app one has to become an Apple News publisher (TNM is inside Apple News). There several ways for editors to get their content inside their brand in the Apple News including integrating it into their CMS, using a WordPress plug-in if they are using that platform, or manually inputting content directly into the iCloud News Publisher system.

As mentioned, publishers haven’t complained so much about fake news (though several websites today speculated that this hire was about this), so much as complained about inconsistent traffic and the inability to monetize their content. Apple, unlike Google, has never understood or committed to advertising, finding that their bulldozer way of doing business doesn’t go down well with brands and ad agencies.

So, while we have no clue what this hire is about, because Apple isn’t saying, it is hard to see much changing with the Apple News app. To really make an impact, Apple needs to hire a publishing industry professional who can both interface with Apple’s publishing partners and effect meaningful change both with how the App Store deals with publishing apps, and letting publishers monetize their content in more ways, including allowing them to run third party ad network ads (yes, like Google).

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