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Arianna Huffington: Politics, Punditry and the HuffPo Family

This is the fifth and final interview in our impromptu “Fishbowl Final” series.

arianna huffington.jpgOn May 9, 2005, The Huffington Post whooshed into being, captained by the ever-energetic and, it seemed then, highly optimistic Arianna Huffington. A lot can change in nine months — in nine months, you can break news, collect an impressive array of pundits, generate incisive commentary, flog under-represented stories, relentlessly scrutinize people on TV, and go double that for the New York Times.

The Huffington Post did all that and more, collecting a truly mindblowing list of contributors along the way like a rolling stone gathering very smart moss, and now boasts a revolving roster of talent from Tina Brown and Harry Evans, Nora Ephron, Walter Cronkite, Larry and Laurie David, Rob Reiner, John Cusack, Lizz Winstead, Cindy Sheehan, Deepak Chopra (for your chakra), Jonathan Alter, Eric Alterman, Eve Ensler, wait-weren’t-you-supposed-to-be-Canadian-by-now Alec Baldwin, Rep. Russ Feingold, and FishbowlDC’s own Patrick Gavin. That is SO not an exhaustive list.

At the head of it all is Arianna, leading the charge by being prolific and proactive, posting on all manner of hot-button issues while goading her charges on to further heights of bloggery (if you don’t believe me go check out her list of blog posts that’s as long as your arm, if you had a really long arm). Together with partner Kenneth Lerer, so far she’s managed to needle Tim Russert incessantly, challenge the NYT over Judy Miller (also incessantly), and champion creativity on the internet with HuffPo’s “Contagious Festival,” inspired by the socially-conscious successes of HuffPal Jonah Peretti. Also, she actually didn’t fire Gutfeld. That alone bespeaks guts.

We had the opportunity to have a proper sit-down with Arianna in November at her party in LA, and she kindly answered a few follow-up questions more recently in between bouts of multi-tasking (“I’ll try to get to as many of all these excellent questions as possible as soon as I’m back from carpool and do a refresh of my blog”). Politicians, pundits, boom-box hoisting movie stars — all that and more await in the paragraphs below. Ta leme sto Blog!

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Bonnie Fuller: The Big Life (and New Book!) of a Geeky Canadian

This is the fourth interview in our impromptu “Fishbowl Final” series.

bonnie-4.jpgOn April 11, 2006, American Media Editorial Director Bonnie Fuller‘s mouthful of a book, The Joys of Much Too Much: Go for the Big Life – The Great Career, The Perfect Guy, and Everything Else You’ve Ever Wanted (Even If You’re Afraid You Don’t Have What It Takes), hits the shelves. A thirty-three word title is atypical for Fuller, who has learned to be succinct by trade (consider this coverline on the current issue of Star: “BRIT PREGNANT AGAIN?”), but when it comes to this book, that’s the point. Fuller’s book is all about cramming everything you want into an impossibly full, rich life, with herself as the primary example (and sometimes, cautionary tale).

It’s fairly obvious that Fuller has applied that philosophy to her career, having held the top spots at a whopping six magazines (Canada’s Flare,, the now-defunct YM, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Us Weekly before moving to American Media, where the publications she oversees include Star, her flagship, Celebrity Living and 21 other titles under her purview. She is also arguably responsible for the recent explosion of celebrity weeklies at the newsstand, proving there was an audience for endless nuggets about celebrities and the news they made just by walking from Starbucks to their car, packaged in candy-colored, irresistible covers and pic after shiny pic with pithy captions. I have a clear memory of experiencing this phenomenon firsthand in a D’Agostino’s and seeing a bright blond Britney Spears smiling against a deep orange background. I don’t even know what the cover story was about; I just remember needing to have it. (Dude. You saw Superbowl XXXV. Those tube-sock armband things had legs.) It was sometime between February 2002 and June 28, 2003, during which time newsstand sales jumped, overall circulation hit 1.1 million and Fuller was named AdAge‘s “Editor of the Year” a full 9 months into her tenure.

You all know this story; suffice to say that Fuller’s jump to David Pecker and AMI was a surprise to the industry and her boss, Jann Wenner. Wenner appointed Janice Min to lead Us from strength to strength thereafter (winning her own “Editor of the Year” award), and Fuller went from reviving a moribund magazine to taking on the challenge of taking a downmarket brand and raising its profile, ad pages and newsstand sales.

Bonnie cover.jpgThrough it all, she’s clearly learned a few things, through the bumps and leaps that led her from the wilds of Toronto to the halls of Cond&#233 Nast/Hearst/AMI. I had the opportunity to read The Joys of Much Too Much earlier this year and found that I really connected to Fuller’s advice and experience. Full and obvious disclosure: I, too, hail from the wilds of Toronto (indeed, as it turns out our childhood homes were about a twelve-minute walk from each other), and am hardly disinclined to like a book with a chapter called “Embrace Your Inner Canadian.” That said, I also greatly enjoyed her account of going from the ultimate “geeky girl” outsider (she is by turns “geeky” “klutzy” and “loserish” in her account) to a creative and market force in the industry she loved, knocking through obstacles like a battering ram along the way (she recounts her first jobsearch in New York, being dinged instantly by Seventeen, and it was only after numerous, persistent phone calls to WWD that she was finally granted the interview with a resigned “Come on in to WWD if you must”)(she got the job).

It’s a mixture of pragmatism and inspiration, with straightforward messages like “use envy as a butt-kick for yourself,” “don’t be a needy worker” “position yourself to be noticed” and “the biggest hurdles you will ever face are the ones in your own self-critical mind.” (Sometimes the pragmatism veers into harsh reality: I enjoyed the part about Bonnie’s madcap Canadian rise more than the section entitled “Biology Waits For No Woman“). There are also some dishy parts with hard-to-get references (example: “I was criticzed by one of my former bosses for not being computer-savvy, but in the meantime I took his magazine from a $15 loss to a $15 gain, a swing of $30 million, in a year and a half…Numbers talk.” Hmm. Who could that be?) Some of the more excruciating stories from her rise include her account of being told no, you can’t join us for lunch by a group of ladies in the lunchroom on her first day at WWD (charming) and being cold-shouldered by colleagues in the biz during her early days covering the shows (before retiring to cockroach-infested hotels. The magazine world is so glamorous!).

I had the opportunity to ask Fuller about the book its message, including her impetus to write it, the long memory of the business, being under the microscope and what’s up with her inner Canadian.

Join us in going for the Big Job, the Big Love and the Big Life after the jump!

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PressThinking with Jay Rosen: The Times of Our Times, and Other Media Preoccupations

This is the third interview in our impromptu “Fishbowl Final” series.

Jay Rosen 4.jpgJay Rosen writes blog posts that are often thousands of words long, and if it’s a busy week, sometimes he’ll write four. He has no graphics, no gossip, and a URL that no one could ever describe as “catchy.” Yet for people in the media — and people who care about the media — his blog, PressThink: Ghost of Democracy in the Media Machine, is an absolute must-read. He was the go-to guy on the Judith Miller scandal in the fall (the go-to guy that all the other go-to guys read) and his voice is so necessary that even when he tried to disengage for a quickie book leave the rest of us pulled him back in (he didn’t put up much of a fight). Not only that, he’s ridiculously photogenic. Who knew? In between blogging, teaching, fielding phone calls from news shows and documentarians (some guy called him three times yesterday during our little photo shoot), and general all-around punditry, Rosen took the time to answer some of our questions for the Fishbowl Final. Typically, it’s the longest one yet. Also typically, it’s awesome. Without further ado, Jay Rosen.

You have criticized the New York Times for its lack of transparency in the domestic spying case, abysmal handling of l’affaire Judy Miller, and have also gone on record as being no fan of TimesSelect. All of this has contributed to your assertion that the New York Times is no longer the number one paper in the country (we’ll get to WaPo in a sec). Where do you think the Times is going, and why?

The Times is a great newspaper, but also a great institution. That’s important because the day is coming when the newspaper form no longer defines the New York Times. What I mean by a great institution is not that its performance in covering the Bush years or the life and times of New York City has always been “great,” but that the Times has great reach, great talent, a great history, a great budget for news coverage, and lots of great journalists who are committed to getting it right. In the American press the Times is completely iconic, and this is not so of the Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau, no matter how good those guys are, and they are very good.

But great institutions can fall behind. They may fail to adapt. Their greatness doesn’t auto-refresh. It can even be a drag, which is what we mean by “the legacy media.” I don’t have a clear sense of where the Times is going, do you? That people are worried about the company’s direction is well known. When Arthur Suzlberger, Jr., on whose moxie all depends, looks right at Charlie Rose and says: “morale is great” shortly after Judy Miller left, I didn’t know where he was going. (His statement wasn’t true.) When the Times says: here’s an handy e-mail form for contacting our columnists, which we urge you to do if you’re a TimesSelecter, but if you’re not, well, forget it… I don’t know where they’re going.

What I said at my blog is that my internal rankings had switched; I put the Washington Post ahead for now. Online, they have been bolder, looser, more open, more nimble, more creative. Confronted with Patrick Fitzgerald, their executives, editors and lawyers made smarter choices. So I said they were the flagship of the fleet now, with the Times right behind. I also said: that’s just one man’s opinion.

It’s true, the Times has screwed up massively in recent months. Of course, no paper is scrutinized like the Times. Why do we care so much?

We may scoff, but I think we’re attracted to the idea of an official narrator who decides what shall be considered a fit part of “the” story here in literate, cosmopolitan New York. This you see in its most frenzied form around the wedding pages. There’s a social fiction there that’s alive, so alive it becomes fact. The fiction is also in the phrase “newspaper of record.” That the public record really exists somewhere, and includes all deeds great or infamous enough to warrant inclusion, is part of the ancient mystique of the Times for secular and educated people.

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David Zinczenko is Living His Best Life (or, Of Edit, Abs and Ice Cream)

This is the second interview in our impromptu “Fishbowl Final” series.

DZ stripey.jpgDavid Zinczenko is having a good year. Actually, he’s having a good five and a half years — the years since he was made Editor in Chief of Men’s Health at the ripe old age of 30. Since then he’s overseen the growth of the Men’s Health empire, which has included a massive circulation hike, two spinoffs, Best Life and Women’s Health, a fast-growing books imprint, new international editions, and a 2004 National Magazine Award for Personal Service, followed up by a nom in 2005 for General Excellence. Also, he sometimes shows up in Page Six.

I first encountered Zinczenko on a stage — well, he was on the stage, I was in the front row capturing his every word for posterity. It was the night of the infamous Jon Stewart MPA event, and after the transcript I published — liberally sprinkled with my own tart commentary — I did not expect to make a new friend. Yet when I finally met Zinczenko he laughed, complimented my work and told me not to worry about it. Classy. That kind of grace and genuine good-naturedness has made him popular with his staff, his colleagues, and with random fans on the internet. It also made him popular with Fishbowl, because that same good grace led him to agree to submit to this interview on a dime, in which he has gamely participated in the midst of travelling to Mexico for a meeting of 40+ Men’s Health edition EICS, publishers and marketing directors from around the world. In between meetings (and, I hope, Margaritas), he took the time to answer my questions about Men’s Health, Best Life, his abs, and that infamous night with Jon Stewart back in September.

Come on, you didn’t think I was going to make it all the way through that introduction without mentioning his abs, did you? Oh, ye of little faith. DZ, take it away.

How much do you love your job?

I have one of the best jobs in publishing, because I create a magazine designed to improve the lives of guys who are very much like me. In a way, I’m on a long journey of self-improvement, but it’s a journey I get paid to go on.

How has it changed over the five and a half years you’ve been doing it? Is it still challenging, or have you ever craved a change?

I’m lucky to be surrounded by really creative and talented people who are always challenging me. My editorial creative director, John Tayman, gets a rave review for his first book in the Times last Sunday (The Colony, Mary Roach review), and I think, “Damn, how can I get my writing closer to that level?” My executive editor, Peter Moore, wins a National Magazine Award for a story on heart disease last year, and I think, “How can I come up with ideas that are as smart and informative as that?” I spend more time on my toes than Baryshnikov, thanks to these people.

Is it ever exhausting to embody the brand? Do you sometimes crave a banana split chased by fries followed by vegging out on the couch?

I do, and many times I indulge my cravings, as anyone working at Cold Stone Creamery will tell you. Embodying the brand means being a regular guy who’s trying to improve himself, personally and professionally, all the time. And like any regular guy, I need to splurge, pig out, and channel-surf now and then.

“The Greatest Abs Exercise Ever” and more after the jump!

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Farewell to a Fishbowl

“So…who are these people that you write about, just other people who write about other people?”

It was a fair question, posed by a friend of mine. It’s been hard to explain to civilians, as it were, why exactly this job has been so all-encompassing for the last ten months. How can I explain to them how funny TimesSelect jokes are? Why Katie Couric‘s legs are a symbol of the seismic shift in the world as we know it? Why referring to Jack Shafer as “Our Dark Lord” cracks me up, even now as I’m typing?

I haven’t been able to in ten months, which is why my best friend has no clue who Maureen Dowd is (though I can tell you that she considers men very, very necessary) and a recent boy I dated didn’t know the difference between Anderson Cooper and Stephen Colbert…when they were both on the TV screen at the same time. (I swear to God that one’s true.) I’ve candidly admitted in the past that I knew very little coming in; now, thanks to a 24-hour diet of news and spin, I can at least hold my own in an email exchange with Jay Rosen (but not a long one).

It’s kind of goofy (but if you are a regular Fishbowl reader you expect no less), but I now have a genuine affection for this beat and for those it covers (even the ones I’ve never met. I’m lookin’ at you, Howie Kurtz, oy what a punum). I had a mini-epiphany last night about why, and it goes back to the notion of being a mensch. I do actually believe that most of us genuinely are in this to add something to the equation and effect a little good. That’s one of the reason the outrage over James Frey is so heartening — it’s kind of amazing that such a cynical bunch of bastards can be so offended that someone lied.

As it turns out, it’s kind of a prerequisite for being one of those people who people like me who write about other people who write about other people write about (yes, we’re the luckiest people in the world). If you didn’t get that well, be grateful that I’m returning to the world in which I am actually edited. In the meantime, before this gets too maudlin, I just wanted to thank all of you for being a mensch (there, Brian Williams, a Golden Girls shout-out just for you!). For the FishFriends&#153 amongst you — you know who you are, all of youse — I thank you so much for every bit of fact-checking, tip-dropping and media-whoring (just kidding, Bucky!). It has been so much fun to do this with all of you, and I can’t even believe you let me for so long.

Or that you read this ridiculously long post. What, you don’t have work to do? Look forward to prose far more elegant and precise come tomorrow when MB stalwart Greg Lindsay steps into the fray, with support from MB’s own Dorian Benkoil and Aileen Gallagher. In the meantime, “The Fishbowl Final” will resume tomorrow, and I’m excited for that. But otherwise, this is so long, and farewell, and auf wiedersehn. You know the drill.

Thanks so much for this wonderful, amazing, inspiring experience. Sorry for being sentimental, I’m Canadian. So, by the way, are Bonnie Fuller, Sheelah Kolhatkar, Graydon Carter, Samantha Bee, Pat Kiernan and Malcolm Gladwell.

A Fishbowl Report: BHL in the “beating heart of Judaism”

BHL is our BFF.jpgFishbowl is dizzy with delight: rock-star philosophe Bernard-Henri L&#233vy loves us! Well, actually, he signed our book but that’s good enough for us. Ever since he rocketed to the top of the NYmag charts two weeks ago (via Carl Swanson‘s wildly popular review of “American Vertigo”), the city’s been ga-ga for all things BHL (plus he was lionized by Tina Brown last Thursday at the NYPL). Fishbowl sent a super-special correspondent to his talk with Adam Gopnik at the 92nd St. Y on Sunday: supa-FishFriend&#153 “Magnus,” who is ridiculously smart and ridiculously opinionated (and ridiculously…never mind. But, his nickname is “Magnus”). This is his report. If you’re looking for a quick summary, you won’t find it here. If you wished to God you could attend and want to feel as though you’re living the dream, pull up a chair and stay awhile. Love him, hate him, BHL is certainly entertaining. Magnus, the floor is yours.

****

You really don’t have to have read any of Bernard-Henri L&#233vy’s (BHL)’s books in order to have a negative opinion about him. That’s why I couldn’t wait to crack the virgin seal of Sunday’s NYT to read Garrison Keillor‘s smackdown of BHL’s new book “American Vertigo”. After I tell her all about it, Fishbowl makes me her “super-special correspondent” and sends me to BHL’s talk at the 92nd Street Y that very evening. Before heading out, I quickly tear through the first 230 pages of “American Vertigo” that make up his “Voyage en Amerique”. (I guess they figured “Voyage through America” sounded a tad corny). This is no book report, so I’ll leave it to the real critics to divine how a people might “become not intoxicated by their autonomy but drunk on their independence.” Suffice it to say: it takes a lot of brass to accuse Henry Kissinger of uttering “a litany of self-satisfied platitudes” after you’ve spent almost two hundred pages spewing banality with the kind of abandon I haven’t seen since I was freshman in college.

92nd St. Y, BHL — it’s reasonable to assume that there will be a fair number of Jewish people in attendance, but I totally forgot BHL’s other main constituency: Euros. Air kisses abound. Heading into the lobby, I run into two friends whom I last saw at La Goulue and the Neue Galerie benefit back in December. (Ed. Magnus is a FANCY FishFriend!) It dawns on me that the upperclass twits that pop up in the party pages of Tatler must be the English acolytes of BHL, what with their open shirts and all. To top it all off, who sits down three seats next to my balcony seat but Gilles Amsallem from French Tuesdays. I recall Liesl Schillinger‘s deadpan take on that whole scene in the Talk of the Town a while back. It turns out their website is shilling a BHL appearance at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square on Monday. But that’s another story.

Adam Gopnik, Francis Fukayama and more, after the jump!

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When “Ode On A Grecian Urn” isn’t in Nexis

You know the story: girl writes article, girl publishes article, article is ripped off by a foreign publication, second girl reads foreign publication and gets an idea for a great article. Second girl writes article. Chaos ensues.

If the articles were attractive starlets and the foreign paper were a charming rake who genuinely wanted to love them both, it would be a perfect February vehicle for Matthew McConaughey. If, however, the first girl is Alexandra Wolfe who wrote a story on ambitious parents hiring Mandarin-speaking nannies to help prepare their children for the global economy which was published in New York magazine on April 4, 2005, then that must mean the other girl is Samantha Marshall of Crain’s, whose article on ambitious parents hiring Mandarin-speaking nannies to help prepare their children for the global economy appeared today. Ouch.

The two stories feature the same Upper West Side little moppet, Hilton Augusta Rogers, and her nanny, Shirley who speaks Mandarin to her. Both stories feature the same experts, Clifton Greenhouse from the upscale Pavillion Agency, which places nannies and au pairs. The Crain’s story says that Shirley has been Hilton’s nanny for six months. Which is funny, because the NY Mag article was published in April – ten months ago.

I spoke to Samantha Marshall today, who said she was shocked to learn that New York had run a story. She’d gotten the idea (and the sources) from The China Daily, which cites little Hilton, her parents, Greenhouse and trumpets the Chinese-nanny trend. It also ends with the anecdote that opens the New York story.

Marshall said she’d run a Nexis search and found nothing (because New York‘s archives aren’t in Nexis)*, and nothing had turned up in Google. (In Fishbowl’s Google search for “mandarin manhattan nannies” the China Daily story was first and the New York story was fourth.) Marshall also said that she’d interviewed all her sources herself; she’d “had absolutely no idea.” Said Marhshall, clearly frustrated: “If I had known that New York had done the story I never would have pitched it.”

So, what do we take from this? I’m inclined to believe Marshall — knowing the story was out there and ripping it off wholesale is both egregious and boneheaded in the extreme — but it is an instructive lesson. Lifting stories is easy, checking up on them is not (for some examples, check Regret The Error). I guess the moral of the story is to check and check and then check again. Another moral of the story is not to trust Matthew McConaughey in February. That new movie with Sarah Jessica Parker can’t be good.

UPDATE: Wow, get me Hilton Augusta Rogers’ press agent — that kid’s been all over. Turns out the China Daily story was syndicated from Der Spiegel. New York magazine apparently doesn’t need to be in Lexis. Thanks to DaddyGreg for the info. Oh, the temptation to make a “who’s your daddy?” joke. But I will refrain.

*To find a story from New York, you have to search either Dialog, WestLaw, or something called “FirstSearch.” Or, you know, Google. Screenshot from the trusty FullText Sources Online, that tells you which archives are where after the jump, courtesy of MB Associate Editor and Fishbowl stalwart Aileen Gallagher.

January 31, 2006:
New York families think global, seek Chinese nannies [Crain's]

January 6, 2006:
Chinese nannies are the latest New York trend [China Daily]

April 4, 2005:
Parents are Teaching Their Infants Chinese to Compete in the Global Economy [New York]

Related:
What “Ode On A Grecian Urn” has to do with copyright [PressJournal]

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Media Minutiae, Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! Edition

bogglicious.jpg

  • Don’t sit on the couch! You’ll ruin it! Take your shoes off! No food in the living room! Please, make yourself at home: Apparently the Vogue team is seriously looking at putting out yet another Vogue-brand magazine called Vogue Living. Apparently Anna Wintour has been wanting to do so for years (thwarted by Domino?). With the Vogue brand on the march domestically and international Vogue shelter titles, it looks like everbody’s starter home just got a bit more expensive (hmm, wonder if the announcement of Blueprint was a factor). Sara James has the scoop. [WWD]

  • This is meta, and that’s saying something considering we’re talking about James Frey: Yikes! A Moscow paper is trying to out the outers of the faker as fakers — apparently The eXile had done their own piece outing Frey as a non-scary non-tough guy with a non-sordid history. The Smoking Gun’s Bill Bastone says “nyet.” It was an easy punchline, yes, and I took it. Dos vadanya. [NYP]
  • The Woody Allen Popularity Scale: Who’s more culturally important? No one, according to the march of Esquire covers through history. The mag has used Woody Allen on the cover a whopping five times according to number-cruncher Kyle Du Ford at Big & Sharp. Perspective: Clinton – 2, Sharon Stone -3, Truman Capote – 2 (both in 1976!). [B&S]
  • The mind Boggles: Only yesterday I revealed Fishbowl’s secret passion for words linked by letters in a shakable cube. Today, Paper mag staffers answer my geeky prayers by hosting a Boggle tournament. I plan to go after watching The State of the Union with the sound off and “Dark Side of the Moon” playing in the background. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! [PaperMag]

The PLAY‘s the thing

As Fishbowl has mentioned, the NYT‘s new sports magazine PLAY comes out on Superbowl Sunday, which is this Sunday.

PLAY is an interesting animal, a start-up mag with great cred and instant circulation of roughly one million*, courtesy of the Sunday Times. It also has instant cred in editor Mark Bryant, late of Outside (with three ASME Excellence Awards) and big dreams of being everything to every sporto: (“It is a magazine for all sports enthusiasts, from serious fans to those who lean more toward playing sports than watching them”).

I wondered how advertisers would see it – my guess was that the NYT would bag some new clients. Which, according spokesperson Diane McNulty, is exactly what has happened. According to McNulty, new advertisers in PLAY include the NFL, plus other sports leagues, athletic watches, and alcohol brands, plus “high-end sports cars and SUV’s that we don’t normally get, but are running in this publication for the sports/outdoor environment.” The issue will have 50 pages of advertising — “most of those campaigns being new to The Times.”

Wow. Big haul. There are gender implications to this, obviously — suddenly advertisers are jumping at an opportunity that typically is not associated with women (though if I could drive I’d want a cute sports car, and also, Malcolm Gladwell is a boy and he doesn’t like SUVs). Says McNulty: “The common thread is that they want to align themselves with a sports magazine that is unique — a thoughtful, intelligent New York Times approach to sports.” I would guess that another common thread is market research, but since I have done none, that’s all I have to say about that.

What you’ll find in PLAY this Sunday besides ads that know you’re discriminating and wonderful: Mark Levine‘s different-we-promise Bode Miller piece; Michael Lewis on football, specifically “the person who made the play that changed the course of Super Bowl I” and, indeed, football itself (factchecker, factchecker, check me a fact…); Chip McGrath, Joe Nocera and Michael Sokolove; plus Freakonomics duo Stephen Dubner and Steven Leavitt, on loan from the NYT mag. I know what you’re wondering: where are the chicks? Answer: draped all over that Lamborghini Ultra!** (We kid, we kid.) McNulty assured me that the mag is replete with female writers and photographers including writers Jennifer Allen and Gretchen Reynolds.

p.s. I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as a Lamborghini Ultra.

*UPDATE: I originally used the 1.6 million Sunday circulation number from the NYT corporate site but Diane McNulty has more specific numbers: 800,000 paid copies in the NY area plus 150,000 bonus circulation outside of the NY area, for an approximate total audience of about 3 million readers in print and on-line.

Mark Bryant Comes Out to PLAY [Big & Sharp]

Related in audio:

Come Out And Play [Offspring]

New York‘s New Look

new york's loverly new look.jpg
I was secretly glad that New York magazine was on hiatus for the week because it gave me the chance to monitor the “Most Popular” feature and see what was moving, which was super interesting (finally, Vera Wang gets her moment in the spotlight!). But after two weeks of nipping back to the NYMag website, I got a jolt last night when I clicked back and found an entirely new look.

Yes, I knew it was coming; an email from rep Betsy Burton yesterday at 11:38 am let me know it was re-launching that night. Nonetheless, it was a shock — where was the bold red? What were all these new nav buttons? Was it me, or were there way less bylines? It’s hard for me to be objective here because I hate website redesigns (Daily News, I miss the old blue); it’s no different with New York. What can I say: I’ve grown accustomed to its [inter]face (Lerner and Loewe still relevant? Check).

So I will restrict my comments to matters of utility and aesthetics. The new look is sleek and navigable, with lots of blue a la Salon (my comments on that redesign apply here). I like that they seem to have added a daily component, though I would love to be able to click on “Daily New York” and get a page for that day (blog blog do I hear a blog?). I like the “Backstory” feature accompanying some articles. Great idea. (Links here would help too.) I clicked on the Ryan Adams pic to see what THAT backstory would be but there was none. Yes, the kid won’t stop releasing albums, but that just means there’s plenty of ink on him). Links to previous articles keep people on your site longer.

I don’t have the old website handy to compare, but I’m pretty sure that bylines have far less prominence. Why? New York has great contributors; readers and surfers recognize names. Bring ‘em back. Your people deserve the credit. Good example: I’d never click on “New Novel by Writer NY Moms Love to Hate”; I would, however, be eager to see what Culture ed. Emily Nussbaum had to say in her first byline since going on maternity leave (link here now that you’re interested).

Newsletters: good; going from “Most Popular” to a generic “Most Emailed” box, meh. As we all know, that isn’t the only gauge of what someone might want to see. I’m actually being quite serious. Monitoring who prints what when etc. has been an eye-opener.

By the way, I’m no web designer or anything-else designer. I’m just someone who spends a lot of time in front of the computer, and a lot of time on the New York website. Also, I’m self-important. So take these comments with that in mind.

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