Look Who's Toxic Now

Nick Denton · 03/17/08 12:55PM

Congratulations, Portfolio, on that lovely advertising spread for Apple's ultra-thin laptop on pages 2 and 3 of last month's issue. Whatever anybody's said about the magazine's editorial leadership, nobody doubts the Conde Nast title's appeal to advertisers. Ah, but then, again, there's that editorial leadership. Flick forward to Portfolio's feature on corporate polluters: Apple is among the magazine's 'Toxic Ten'. First of all, the magazine was ridiculously unthinking to include any computer company along with industrial giants such as Alcoa. More damning: Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman also forgot one of Conde Nast's golden rules: give an advertiser the opportunity to pull out of an issue containing a critical article. It's both polite, and politic. Apple is said by insiders to be furious, as is Portfolio's outgoing publisher, the normally unflappable David Carey, a rising star on Conde Nast's business side, and someone the embattled Lipman needs on her side. ENLARGE»

When In Doubt, Attack!

Nick Denton · 03/12/08 11:52AM

Well, this is one way for Conde Nast to display its determination to make Portfolio a success. The business magazine's editor, Joanne Lipman, may have lost the confidence of her staff; and the title sells well under a fifth of the copies sent to newsstands. But conglomerate Conde Nast, which has committed $100m in one of the biggest magazine launches in recent years, is launching Portfolio in the UK. Lipman may be sacrificed, but too much money and prestige is invested for Conde Nast to allow the magazine to fail.

For Big Spenders, By Big Spenders

Nick Denton · 02/06/08 12:26PM

Dana Thomas' gig at Portfolio sounds wonderfully cushy. The former Newsweek writer, now European editor at Conde Nast's business title (she asked for the title because it sounded "very grand"), went on a "couple-thousand" shopping spree after she signed her contract, according to the New York Observer. We suspect, however, that Joanne Lipman's extravagant magazine, which is funded to the tune of $100m, will waste more on the forthcoming opus by Jay McInerney.

Joanne Lipman

cityfile · 01/30/08 01:26PM

The former deputy managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, Lipman was editor-in-chief of the monthly business magazine Condé Nast Portfolio until it was shut down in April 2009.

When Even The Contributors Are Critics

Nick Denton · 01/28/08 11:52AM

Joanne Lipman may be deaf to warnings from her colleagues. (The embattled Portfolio editor ran a poorly-sourced rehash of a 21-year-old story in the latest issue of the Conde Nast business magazine, despite protests from fact checkers and editors.) But that doesn't stop others from volunteering advice. The brittle editrix approached Michael Kinsley, editor of The New Republic in its heyday, about a freelance piece. She got something else. Says Kinsley: "I was talking to Joanne Lipman-who I'd never met-and she talked to me about writing a piece and I said I'll write you a memo about what I think of the first few issues and what problems you have; I could just be another voice. I'm sure more criticism is just what's she's in the mood for." And I'm sure that Lipman even more delighted by Kinsley's willingness to share their private conversation with the New York Observer.

Why Joanne Lipman Should Go

Nick Denton · 01/24/08 03:28PM

The February issue of Portfolio, which just hit newsstands, has a superficially fascinating account of fugitive fraudster Robert Vesco, who ran Bernie Cornfeld's bogus mutual fund in the early 1970s, and then escaped to Cuba. Except the profile, based on a poorly-sourced book by a Fox News correspondent called James Rosen, is as hollow as the investment empire Vesco ran. For Conde Nast's embattled business magazine, which staffers jokingly call Fort Polio, the article is an embarrassment; for the title's wobbly editor, Joanne Lipman, who forced through the piece against the objections of her colleagues, the publication is an indictment. How flawed is the piece? Here's how.

Fort Polio

Nick Denton · 01/11/08 12:54PM

Joanne Lipman's Portfolio has not had the impact it hoped on the business conversation, but the unhappy Conde Nast magazine is certainly making a contribution to the journalistic lexicon. When the editor's not in earshot, staffers have been known to deliberately mangle the name of the embattled magazine: referring not to 'Portfolio', but to 'Fort Polio'. If only such wit made it into the magazine. But Portfolio's editor is notorious for shooting down ideas before she understands them.

Joanne Lipman's Replacement At Portfolio

Nick Denton · 01/10/08 11:41AM

Let's be generous and accept Memo Pad's word that Portfolio is selling 15-18% of the copies it ships to newsstands. (We'd heard some issues had registered as low as 12%). That's still deeply embarrassing for Conde Nast, which has committed $100m to the new business title, the biggest magazine launch in years — and maybe one of the last before print enters its final decline. One Portfolio writer says of the magazine's numbers: "Well, that's not that much lower than Cargo." Yes, but Cargo's dead.

Conde Nast's David Carey

Nick Denton · 01/08/08 03:35PM

The bespectacled magazine publisher, who ran the New Yorker's marketing and ad sales before being roped in to help Joanne Lipman launch Portfolio, has done better than merely surviving the new year's massacre at Conde Nast. He's now the leading candidate to replace Chuck Townsend as chief executive of the elite magazine group. Nobody wins corporate infighting without making critics but, if Carey has them, we can't find them. "Everyone wishes there was some dirt on David Carey, but there ain't," says one Conde exec. The Portfolio publisher doesn't even get the blame for the business magazine's troubled launch.

Will Free Itself From Joanne Lipman?

Choire · 10/25/07 08:40AM

It's apparently been the best-kept secret in town that Chris Jones, the managing editor of, gave notice a full month ago—the staff were supposedly only told yesterday. And now, says WWD: "high-level discussion is said to be under way about divesting [Portfolio editor Joanne] Lipman of oversight of the Web site, with a possible new reporting structure to's general manager, Ari Brandt, on the business side. (Like Jones, Brandt came from Yahoo!, where such reporting structures are in place.)" Well sure—we hear that meetings with Lipman can be so trying that people stomp out of the building for a breath of fresh air afterward. Plus! Bonus blind item for ya! What Portfolio editorial employee was spotted hanging around outside an old boss's office last week, eagerly waiting for a chance to talk privately?

abalk · 09/28/07 08:20AM

Keith Kelly: "CONDÉ Nast Chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. sat down Wednesday with Portfolio Editor-in-Chief Joanne Lipman to take a very serious look at every page in the upcoming November issue of Portfolio, his $100 million pet project. When the meeting was over, a flurry of Newhouse-dictated changes ensued, and that had some staffers concluding that Si was not happy with the original incarnation of Portfolio issue No. 4." Shockingly, Condé spokesfolk deny it. [NYP]

abalk · 09/18/07 08:20AM

The third issue of Portfolio—on newsstands this week!—will not feature an editor's letter from Joanne Lipman. Someone tell Graydon Carter that this is a really good idea. [WWD]

Choire · 09/13/07 03:00PM

Dan Golden has announced he would rather work for Joanne Lipman at Portfolio (as a senior editor) than Rupert Murdoch at the Wall Street Journal. (Well, he was in the Boston bureau, and we'd work for Bonnie Fuller or Satan to get out of Boston, so.) Two related things: First, we heard a big editor at the WSJ quit right after the Murdoch and Col Allan visit last week. Second, wow, isn't Portfolio on a major lockdown right now? Not a PEEP out of that place in weeks! [Romenesko]

'Wall Street Journal' To End Pursuits

abalk · 08/28/07 02:02PM

In a few minutes, Wall Street Journal employees will be herded into a meeting where, we understand, they will learn that the Saturday "Pursuits" section—baby of left-for-Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman—is being rebranded as a Saturday edition of the Friday "Weekend" section. We hear that there are plans afoot to use the "Pursuits" rubric as the title for the new T-style magazine section that Rupert Murdoch mentioned wanting to see. This is all preliminary, but if it is, in fact, the case, it's hard not to see it as one more indictment of Lipman, who never properly articulated the section's raison d'etre before decamping to Conde Nast.

Let's Play Editorial Shuffle!

abalk · 08/21/07 01:35PM

Today on the New Republic website, retired blogger Elizabeth Spiers reviews the second issue of Portfolio. Spiers finds the title pretentious and lacking in substance. Her suggestion? Replace editor Joanne Lipman with former New Yorker head Tina Brown, who will bring both flash and purpose to the title. Surely Tina, who is currently sitting on her ass awaiting royalty checks from that Princess Diana book, would go for it. But what would happen to poor Joanne? We've come up with a plan that requires a little editorial shuffling throughout the media world, but ends up with everybody comfortably ensconced in positions for which they might be better suited!

Why People Care About 'Portfolio'

Doree Shafrir · 08/20/07 11:30AM

Today endlessly irksome media columnist Jon Friedman writes: "It's still hard to believe that a monthly, which has published a total of two issues, can seem so important. Yet Portfolio has taken on the aura of a big-budget Hollywood production, where pandemonium appears to be everywhere. Unfortunately, the magazine raises comparisons with "Heaven's Gate" and "Gigli." ("Do you even remember the latter's plot line?" Friedman asks. Sadly, some people do.) Friedman trots out Portfolio's publisher David Carey and Conde publicist Perri Dorset to dismiss the hubbub and claim that everyone's just talking about their stories. And, for real? It's "hard to believe" that this magazine—for which Conde Nast crowed about spending $100 million and poached nearly every business journalist with a pulse and maybe one standout clip—"can seem so important"?

Will Jim Impoco Return To The 'Times'?

Doree Shafrir · 08/15/07 01:17PM

We hear that New York Times Business honcho Larry Ingrassia is trying to lure fired Portfolio deputy editor Jim Impoco (whose bio is still on Portfolio's website) back to his old Times home in Biz. That would be an interesting, if not entirely unpredictable, turn of events. (Where is there to work, anyway?) And they have something in common. When Ingrassia left the Wall Street Journal for the Times, one of the great benefits for him was getting away from Lipman.

The War At 'Portfolio'

abalk · 08/15/07 09:30AM

The new Portfolio hits the racks today. Before we get to the actual magazine, you'll have to console yourself with gossip about Portfolio, most of it centered around EIC Joanne Lipman's recent firing of second-in-command Jim Impoco. The Observer and the Post, obviously suckling at the teat of different sources, bring you the different perspectives.

Choire · 08/09/07 03:49PM

Joanne Lipman's secret editorial plan to save Conde Nast Portfolio from the crisis that she doesn't yet know that it's totally in: Unpaid 36-hour-a-week college internships for researcher-bloggers. HAHA. NO. We'd laugh if it wasn't so sad that a bunch of talented people gave up other jobs to go work for the right magazine at the right time run by entirely the wrong crazy person. [Craigslist]