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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Berner’

Google’s Real Time Search Falters|PBS Tracks Shows|Kim Kardashian Will Tweet For Money|Reader’s Digest Profiled|Conde Hacked

BayNewser: Google’s real time results were put to the test with the death of actress Brittany Murphy yesterday. But they didn’t fare so well.

FishbowlDC: For the first time ever, PBS has implemented a ratings system to track who is watching its shows.

PRNewser: Kim Kardashian can command $10,000 per tweet from sponsors. But does she disclose her sponsored tweets?

New York Times: An in-depth look at Reader’s Digest Association and the plans that CEO Mary Berner has for the struggling company in the New Year.

WWD: Conde Nast revealed that its computers had been hacked earlier this year, and content from December’s GQ was published online before the issue hit newsstands. The company is now suing the blog FashionZag, which Conde claims also stole pages from Vogue, Teen Vogue and Lucky.

Reader’s Digest Moves To NYC As Part of Restructuring Plan

rdjjjjj.jpgAfter filing for Chapter 11 this August, Reader’s Digest Association has been working on a restructuring plan to get itself out of debt. Some of this has been the unfortunate (but par for course) shuttering of titles, like Rick Warren‘s ill-fated The Purpose Driven Connection magazine.

Yesterday, editor-in-chief Peggy Northrop mentioned at the ASME luncheon that the Reader’s Digest brand would never again launch a magazine that wasn’t able to perform across different media platforms. And today, RDA continues its attempts to get back in the black, and no it doesn’t involve firing staffers. It looks like the company will be moving its staffers from its offices in Pleasantville, N.Y.

As Keith Kelly reported this morning:

“Some of the 600 employees based in [Pleasantville] will be relocated to White Plains, N.Y. But executive offices and Reader’s Digest magazine’s editorial will move to space at 750 Third Avenue that was recently vacated by S.I. Newhouse’s Condé Nast Publications.

So some editorial staffers will be going to White Plains while the corporate headquarters and other editorial staffers move to NYC to share in the same building as Condé Nast. (FishbowlNY previously reported that The Economist is also moving into that building in the second quarter of next year.) While it’s always terrible to have to pick up your life and move elsewhere for a job, relocating to New York isn’t the worst thing to happen to a magazine staff in the last, oh say, 24 hours. In terms of restructuring, this is one of the more positive moves we’ve seen in awhile, which it should be obvious by the very un-restructuring phrase in CEO Mary Berner‘s letter to the staffers, “Some of you will be excited by this change…”

Berner’s full memo to RDA staffers after the jump.

Previously: Reader’s Digest Files For Ch. 11

Read More: Reader’s Digest moving to NYCNew York Post

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Reader’s Digest Reorganizes, Shuffles Execs

Scan_RGB.jpgLess than one month after announcing plans to enter Chapter 11 in order to reorganize its debt, the Reader’s Digest Association has renamed and reorganized its U.S. business operations and shuffled its top executives around.

Suzanne Grimes (right), currently president of Food & Entertaining at RDA, will now become president of a new group called “U.S. Affinities,” which will combine the Food & Entertaining group with a Home & Garden affinity. Alyce Alston, current president of Home & Garden and Health & Wellness, will take over a new division called “Emerging Businesses,” which will oversee the development of new businesses for the company.

The “Reader’s Digest Community” division, which focuses on “growing and nurturing the Reader’s Digest brand, magazine and related products,” will continue to be led by Eva Dillon and will remain outside of the affinity structure, RDA said.

As part of the reorganization, Neil Wertheimer, the editor of RDA’s Home & Garden and Health & Wellness divisions will now become vice president and editor-in-chief, of Emerging Businesses and Content Development.

Grimes, Alston and Dillon will all report to CEO Mary Berner, who said the affinity structure first adopted by the company in 2007 “has helped the company grow advertising market share and build customer communities, strengthening relations with both consumers and advertisers.” All three presidents came to RDA in 2007 and came by way of Conde Nast — Grimes was VP of Conde Nast Media Group, Alston worked as group publisher for W and Dillon served as VP and founding publisher of Cookie

The full release after the jump

Earlier: Reader’s Digest Plans To Restructure Debt Through Ch. 11

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Reader’s Digest Files For Ch. 11

rda.pngOne week after announcing its intention to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Reader’s Digest Association Inc. filed the necessary paperwork with the bankruptcy court yesterday.

In a release about the filing, the Reader’s Digest publisher said that 80 percent of its senior secured lenders had already agreed to the restructuring plan that was part of the filing. The Chapter 11 filing will only affect the company’s U.S. operations, the company added.

“Our business operations remain solid, with anticipated Fiscal 2009 revenue only down by low single digits, currency neutral, despite the recession,” said Mary Berner, the company’s president and CEO, in a statement. “We look forward to emerging with a restructured balance sheet and as a financially stronger organization that is positioned to pursue our growth and transformational initiatives.”

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Reader’s Digest Plans To Restructure Debt Through Ch. 11

rda.pngReader’s Digest Association announced a plan today to restructure its $2.2 billion in debt through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 filing.

The company said it had reached an agreement with a majority of its lenders, which include JP Morgan, Ares Capital and GE Capital, that would reduce its debt to $550 million. RDA plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection within the next 30 days, using the 30-day grace period to put avoid making a $27 million interest payment on senior subordinated debt due today.

Company spokesman William Adler said the Reader’s Digest publisher would be using the next few days to get more lenders on board with the plan, although a majority have already agreed to it in principle. Once the debt is decreased, Adler said he had faith that the company would be able to turn a profit and grow.

“The business generates a lot of cash, just not enough to pay off our debt,” Adler said, revealing that RDA brings in $130 million in cash per year but has $145 million in debt. “We want to bring our debt to a level that we could comfortably cover.”

In a statement, CEO Mary Berner said the company will continue to operate as normal throughout the restructuring process. “Restructuring our debt will enable us to have the financial flexibility to move ahead with our growth and transformational initiatives,” she said.

RDA’s full release after the jump

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Lunch: Power Blondes Rule! Katie Couric, Tina Brown and Barbara Walters Hold Court

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Today at Michael’s, they were dishing like it was 2007. As if the head-spinning assortment of media alpha gals (Katie! Tina! Barbara!) wasn’t enough to keep us busy, the dining room, bar and lounge was jam-packed with mavens and moguls of all stripes who barely made time to peck at their Cobb salads between all the table-hopping. It was hard to keep up! I made my rounds in the dining room to check in with the regulars, and all anyone wanted to know was ‘Who else is here today?’ (I’ve always thought this place was just like a high school cafeteria, but with better clothes.) Plenty of heads turned when Katie Couric breezed in sporting a chic, shorter ‘do and a pretty polka dot summer dress. The woman sitting next to me whispered, “She looks 35!” We have to agree. I caught Katie on her way to her table just long enough to ask what she has planned for her summer vacation next month. No trips to Wasilla for the CBS News’ anchor: “I’m going to the beach with my daughters to enjoy my time with them before Ellie goes off to college!”

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Katie Couric, Lifetime’s CEO Andrea Wong, Deborah Roberts, Sherrie Westin and Cynthia McFadden

2. Jeanine Pirro with publicist Adam Schiff and an unidentified bespectacled gal. I hadn’t talked to Jeanine since I profiled her for Westchester magazine last fall on the eve of the premiere of her show, Judge Jeanine. With one season under her robe, Jeanine is thrilled — “We’re in syndication now!” Life must be pretty good for the former Westchester DA — she was tan and dressed to the nines, toting a gorgeous alligator bag.

3. The ladies who lunch: Somers Farkas (in Pucci) with three other social swans

4. Barbara Walters and Diana Taylor

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Lunch: Barbara Walters, Frank Langella & Kathie Lee Gifford

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— DIANE CLEHANE

It was a tasty mix of media mavens, social types and the random celebrity (Frank Langella was in the house!) on the menu at Michael’s today: The dining room was so packed, they were shoehorning tables in everywhere. I was glad I got there early so I was able to grab some of the regulars on the way to their tables before they got down to some serious dining and dishing. Kathie Lee Gifford was one of the first to arrive, announcing, “Ah, springtime!” as she came through the door. She’s got plenty to smile about these days as her latest book, Just When I Thought I’d Dropped My Last Egg (Ballantine), hit the New York Times bestseller list. I just has to ask Kathie Lee what she thought about her pal Joan Rivers winning The Celebrity Apprentice, besting her arch enemy poker player Annie Duke and the nasty showdown the women had on the finale. “I was thrilled for her. Anyone that knows Joan knows she’s a friend to the end — and any time a 75-year-old wins anything, it’s good for all of us!”

I was lunching today with Alexandra Trower, Estee Lauder’s executive vice president of global communications. This consummate public relations pro has been with the company just over a year now, having made the switch from banking (she was SVP of media relations for Bank of America) to the beauty biz. This week, Alex scored a major hit with a front-page story on Estee Lauder’s new CEO Fabrizio Freda in WWD Beauty Biz. We had a terrific chat about the famous faces and captains of industry we’ve both come to know. It’s amazing what a small world Manhattan can be!

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Today show twosome Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb with Kathie Lee’s right-hand gal Christine and Hoda’s chic pal Sunny

2. Literary lioness Lynn Nesbitt and Peter Brown

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong dining with Kerry Kennedy and her charming young daughter Michaela

4. Barbara Walters and Frank Langella

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Lunch: Carl Bernstein: Bush ‘Straight Talk’ Book Would Sell

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Reports of the death of the power lunch are, by the looks of things at Michael’s today, most definitely premature. It will be a sure sign of the apocalypse when the regulars at 55th & Fifth stop showing up to cook up their next big move over burgers and Cobb salads. By the looks of today’s crowd, there was plenty of business being done between bites as media machers, fashion mavens and a few authors of note were deep in conversation. And, reports Michael McCarty, the joint is also jumping after dark. Leonard Lauder took over the Garden Room for a chic soiree last night, and the place is booked with plenty of parties throughout the month. “We’re very fortunate,” says Michael. “We have a very diverse and loyal clientele.” Indeed.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Police commissioner Ray Kelly and Tom Kelly. No one was quite sure if these two imposing looking fellows were related, but I’m guessing not since I spotted Tom scribbling furiously in his notebook during lunch…

2. Men’s Health honcho Dave Zinczenko and Glamour editrix Cindi Leive. With all the gloom and doom that abounds and the scarcity of holiday fetes around town, I asked them what they were planning to do for their staffs to brighten spirits. Both said they were planning “very low key” get-togethers somewhere in town. “There’s going to be a pool table and bottles of beer involved,” promises Cindi. Dave also reports that Rodale will be hosting two parties — one here at the New York offices and the other at the company’s Emmaus, Pa. headquarters. No Scrooges here! I just had to ask Cindi what she thought of this morning’s item in The New York Post that she (and Linda Wells) might be in line for the top spot at Vogue should those pesky rumors (denied by Si Newhouse) that Anna Wintour is on the way out. Or, maybe her pal Dave has lured her away for the top spot at Women’s Health. (An announcement about the job is expected any day.) “I’m perfectly happy where I am,” Cindi told me.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Carl Bernstein. I told Carl that I caught All the President’s Men (which he co-wrote with Bob Woodward on the heels of their game-changing coverage of Watergate for The Washington Post all those many years ago) on TMC the other night. “How does it hold up?” he asked me. Pretty well, I told him. “It’s been years since I’ve seen it,” says Carl. I had to ask him what he thought of the reports that the soon to be ex-president wouldn’t exactly incite a bidding war for his memoirs in the months following him leaving office. Carl dismisses the notion that their would be no takers for the book. “Presidents never have difficulty getting their memoirs published,” he told me. Earlier this week, Bush told ABC News’ Charles Gibson that he was “unprepared for war” and said his “biggest regret” was the mistaken claims regarding weapons of mass that lead to the war in Iraq. So does that mean that Bush’s prospective tome might offer some introspection? “Forget introspection,” says Carl. “If he was more forthcoming about his presidency given the amount of withholding of information and level of mendacity, a little straight talk would be good.”

4. Tommy Mottola and an unidentified older gentleman

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Gourmet Choice: Condé Names Names New Media VP

Amy_Churgin.jpgWWD suggested earlier today that Condé Nast was having some trouble finding a replacement for Suzanne Grimes, who was poached by her former boss and new Reader’s Digest chief Mary Berner. Well, they found one:

Amy Churgin Named Senior Vice President, Condé Nast Media Group

Amy Churgin has been named Senior Vice President of the Condé Nast Media Group overseeing Corporate Sales, it was announced today by Richard D. Beckman, President, Condé Nast Media Group and Chief Marketing Officer, Condé Nast Publications. Her appointment is effective immediately.

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It’s Official: Eva Dillon Leaves Condé for Readers Digest

evadillon.jpgIf you have a Reader’s Digest email, that means you’re working for Reader’s Digest, right?

Mary Berner, setting up her team at Reader’s Digest, has been poaching people from Condé Nast, her old stomping grounds when she headed the company’s Fairchild Publications division. (She left after it became clear she’d have to report lower down the organizational chart than she’d been used to.)

One Condé exec who’d been rumored on her way was Cookie publisher Eva Dillon. When we emailed Eva today, we got back an “out of office” message saying:

“I am no longer at this email address. If you wish to contact me, please email EVA’S NEW EMAIL@rd.com” [address removed]

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