Embattled Porfolio editor Joanne Lipman interviewed embattled Tribune publisher Sam Zell recently, in a dynamic meeting of the embattleds! Zell is a well-known asshole, but kind of lovable too (if you don't work for him), because he tells the hard truth no matter what. He admits that newspapers' business model was screwy and outdated. He admits that newspapers will never again be able to "break news" in print on a regular basis. He talks shit to Arthur Sulzberger. And he charmingly scoffs at the expensive pursuit of Pulitzers by newspapers that can't even cover daily news in their own cities:
If you're the sort of magazine industry obsessive who looks forward to the first week of December when Condé Nast releases its holiday luncheon seating chart—wherein Condé overlord Si Newhouse either exalts or punishes his editors according to where he seats them at the Four Seasons, and with whom—you're going to have to wait until next year. The company's CEO, Chuck Townsend, informed staffers yesterday that the lunch has been canceled. Of course, you probably don't need a chart to surmise that if the lunch had taken place, Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman could have expected to nibble on her Cobb salad in the coat room. [WWD]
♦ More pain at 4 Times Square: Condé Nast is shuttering Elegant Bride. [Jossip]
♦ Despite the fact Portfolio fired 32 staffers last week, a spokesperson confirms the mag is going ahead with a soirée at the 21 Club later this month. [Page Six]
♦ Not surprisingly, Fox News has landed the first post-election interview with Sarah Palin. Greta van Susteren will sit down with her in Alaska over the weekend; the interview will be broadcast on Monday. [THR]
♦ John McCain's appearance on Saturday Night Live didn't generate Sarah Palin-like ratings, but it was still an impressive showing nonetheless. [THR]
♦ No word yet on who will take over NBC's Meet the Press. Chuck Todd, David Gregory, Gwen Ifill, and even Katie Couric all remain possibilities. [NYT]
♦ CBS is on a primetime ratings roll, although Sumner Redstone is still screwed, apparently. [NYT, NYT]
♦ Another profile of Rachel Maddow, just in case the 237 other pieces on MSNBC's rising star in recent weeks have yet to whet your appetite. [NYM]
♦ In case you missed it, the clip of Sarah Palin getting punked by a couple of Montreal radio personalities, who explain how they managed to get through to her. [ABC]
Portfolio may be struggling to keep current during these dark economic times, but editor Joanne Lipman pulled a clever maneuver when she dispatched a cute, young reporter to meet up with Salman Rushdie at the luxe resort in Mexico. The famed author took the trip to Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos, Mexico to promote his new book, The Enchantress of Florence, and was given free plane tickets and accommodations in exchange for showing up at two dinners and a cocktail reception. It doesn't seem like the deal was much of a success for the hotel company: A total of eight paying guests turned up for the two dinners. But that gave Rushdie plenty of time to open up about really important stuff, like Dancing with the Stars, Kim Kardashian, and his busy social life.
As we pointed out earlier this week, things have taken a turn for the worse at Condé Nast's glossy (and very expensive) business magazine, Portfolio. Another sign today that the ship may be sinking: deputy editor Blaise Zerega, who has been with the magazine since its launch in 2006 and was widely viewed as one of the brightest talents at the mag (in contrast to mediocre editor-in-chief Joanne Lipman), has announced he's leaving the company for Fora.tv, an new online-video site. [Valleywag, previously]
Condé Nast has devoted an enormous sum to launch its new business title, Portfolio: While initial estimates pegged the cost at $100 million, it was recently reported that the media conglomerate may be planning to spend $150 million to get the magazine off the ground. Since its debut in 2007, Portfolio has struggled to gain subscribers and advertisers, fired editors and hired new ones, changed its cover strategy, and emerged as the perpetual train wreck that media obsessives can't get enough of. But now we hear things are worse than ever. "With everything that's happened over the past few weeks, everyone is much more concerned," an insider tells us. For good reason.
A long Times profile yesterday of Conde Nast chairman Si Newhouse describes him as a shy, unassuming man who putters around the office quietly in an old sweatshirt. This can lead to a pleasant work environment, but also some surprises: "Despite the influence he wields, Mr. Newhouse so defers to his editors and dislikes confrontation that a number of them have said over the years that their first indication of trouble came when he fired them." Notably, the piece gives no indication at all that Conde Nast is nervous about the struggles of its $100 million business magazine, Portfolio. But does that mean its editor, Joanne Lipman, is really safe?
Isabella Rossellini turns 56 today. And she has all those Lancôme products to thank for that timeless beauty of hers, we're sure. Also celebrating today: Embattled Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman turns 47. Literary agent David Vigliano is 49. NY1 political reporter Dominic Carter is 44. Social scenester Kate Schelter is turning 32. Attorney Barry Slotnick is 69. And Britain's newest bachelor Paul McCartney turns 66.
Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman is to ring the stock market's opening bell tomorrow morning at 9.30am, to mark the first anniversary of the Conde Nast business magazine. It's a distinct honor for Portfolio, or would be-but for one detail. Lipman will be kicking off trading not on the real floor but on the Nasdaq electronic exchange. The ceremony will take place at the Nasdaq's unpopulated "market site" round the corner from the magazine's offices-before an audience of bewildered Times Square tourists. (Easy dig: they may represent the confused business title's target demographic.)
Portfolio's Joanne Lipman must be chafing at the New York Observer's flattering profile of her managing editor, Jacob Lewis. For sure, John Koblin's piece is the first positive coverage of the business magazine in a while. But almost every passage, while praising the new managing editor's calming influence on the troubled Conde Nast title, is an implied criticism of Lipman's management style.
Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman should learn rule number 63 or web publishing: by deleting a blog post, one only draws greater attention to it. On Friday, the Conde Nast magazine's media industry terrier, Jeff Bercovici, wrote a typically niggling piece for Portfolio's website about best-selling fabulist, Malcolm Gladwell (displayed after the jump). According to Bercovici, the Tipping Point author is the bane of the fact-checking department at his day job, as a writer for the New Yorker, another title owned by Conde Nast boss Si Newhouse. There was nothing that controversial about Bercovici's item: Gladwell has himself drawn attention to his mockery of orthodox journalistic practice. But the post disappeared from Bercovici's Portfolio blog over the weekend.
An online staffer has written in with a fairly lengthy account of the continuing discontent inside Condé Nast business magazine Portfolio. The anonymous tipster said that "every last person at the magazine" except new managing editor Jacob Lewis is lined up against editor Joanna Lipman, deputy editor Amy Stevens and senior editor Kyle Pope. (And the ungrateful hacks wonder why they are being pushed out the door!) But the anger may only be strengthening Lipman's position. Condé Nast patriarch Si Newhouse has a big fan in Lipman, who recently told staff her initial meeting with the Advance Publications CEO left her "so happy she could have been hit by a truck." Now Newhouse is said to have embattled Lipman's back. Email from the Portfolio.com insider after the jump.
WE HEAR that Portfolio is pushing its staff writers into contracts. As it stands, writers at the magazine are considered full-time and get appropriate benefits. That would change if they became independent contractors who regularly write for the magazine. [Boy would it ever!–day ed] Rumor has it that senior writers Sheelah Kolhatkar and Kevin Gray have already been talked to and the magazine is trying to get rid of office space. Jesse Eisinger probably won't get screwed because he's a real financial writer and also subject to Joanne Lipman's adoration. Update: a tipster writes in with more details, after the jump.
Portfolio magazine's highly conceptual covers were commercially foolish, but rather brave. The cityscapes and factory floors of the Conde Nast title's first four issues paid homage to an earlier, more confident era of magazine publishing, in which editors could survive a bad month on the newsstand. And then, spooked by low sell-through numbers, Joanne Lipman panicked. January's Spy vs Spy cover could have been borrowed from the defunct Business 2.0; February's How Fat Won, illustrated by an overloaded burger, is a bogus trend story more often found in Newsweek. The latest shows a man's black shoe treading on a woman's red stiletto reminiscent of nothing more than a classy fetish magazine. Provocative? Pathetic? Discuss.