When it comes to the crowded and increasingly lucrative field of celebrity book ghostwriting, few have a better handle on things than Madeleine Morel. The British-born Morel moved to New York City in 1977 where, five years later, she founded 2M Communications, a literary agency that today specializes in ghostwriting. As Morel’s bio reminds, she is “actively looking for new clients in order to maintain her Prada habit!”
“Say ten years ago, ghostwriting definitely had a sort of dirty name, the same way as online dating had a dirty name. So if you were a ghostwriter you’d maybe tell your best friend on pain of death never to tell anyone else ’cause there was a slightly ignominious feature to it.”
A couple moves to note this morning, involving Bloomberg View and The Wall Street Journal. Details are below.
- Mohamed El-Erian has joined Bloomberg View as a columnist focusing on economic policy and financial markets. El-Erian is chairman of President Obama’s Global Development Council, a contributor to the Financial Times, and PIMCo’s former CEO. You can read his first column here.
- Rob Rossi, currently the Journal’s deputy national news editor, has been named deputy editor, standards for Asia. Rossi will be based in Hong Kong, making him the Journal’s first standards and ethics editor to be based outside of New York. Rossi has been with the paper since 2000.
The keynote speaker at this year’s “Night of Vonnegut” fundraiser celebration in Indianapolis will be Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio (pictured). Ahead of the April 19 event at the Vonnegut Library, the APM (American Public Media) radio vet explained to Nuvo managing editor Ed Wenck that he hooked up with the library during a previous visit to Indianapolis and is very proud of his encounter with the late author on behalf of one-time PBS newsmagazine NOW.
Brancaccio started out as a co-host on that program with Bill Moyers before eventually taking over as the sole host. It was during that latter stage that he conducted what would turn out to be Vonnegut’s final long-form TV interview:
“He sat down with me for hours. We put about an hour of it on the air. It was a great honor. The interview wasn’t right at the end of his life — I think he was with us for another year and a half after that…”
Joe Zee is officially a member of team Yahoo. The company just announced that Zee is joining as editor-in-chief and executive creative officer of Yahoo Fashion. Zee will also serve as editor-at-large of Yahoo Beauty, which is being helmed by Bobbi Brown.
On Friday, rumors swirled that Zee was leaving Elle — where he has served as creative director for the past seven years — to join the Yahoo world. The allure of creating something new was enough to pull Zee away from the magazine.
“I have always embraced technology and innovation in everything I do — from making a magazine, to executive producing and hosting my television shows, to writing my books,” Zee said, in a statement. “So, the chance to combine all of these passions at Yahoo during a period of tremendous innovation and transformation is a dream.”
At The New York Times, Vanessa Friedman has unenviable job of filling the void left by Cathy Horyn, the paper’s veteran fashion critic. Horyn left in January of last year, and Friedman was hired away from the Financial Times in early March.
In an interview with Adweek, Friedman discusses her plans for the Times. Below are some highlights.
On expanding the Times’ fashion coverage:
One exciting thing that we’ll be doing is moving the fashion page of the INYT from Tuesday to Thursday [to coincide with the Times’ Thursday Styles page] so that news stories can run globally at the same time.
On the difference between the FT and the Times:
The FT had a very specific slant on the world, and that was financial and European and very luxury, whereas the Times has a broader remit as a newspaper.
On readers being interested in the business of fashion:
If you look at what’s happened within the fashion industry over the last five to 10 years, what’s been really notable is that the corporate and the creative sides of the business have become ever closer together.
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Texas Monthly Sues Times Co. Over New Hire (NYT)
The publisher of Texas Monthly filed a lawsuit on Friday against The New York Times Company related to the Times’ hiring of the magazine’s departing editor-in-chief, Jake Silverstein. FishbowlNY Emmis Publishing is claiming that the Times influenced Silverstein into breaching his contract. The lawsuit states that Silverstein’s contract expires in February of next year. NY Post The six-page Texas state court action alleges that Times executive editor Jill Abramson started recruiting Silverstein in December 2012 — a full year before then-magazine editor Hugo Lindgren was ousted. Greg Loewen, president of Emmis, said the company has been “damaged by the Times and expects to be compensated.” Capital New York The suit, which seeks damages between $200,000 and $1 million, names only the Times, not Silverstein, as previously reported. Loewen said the company never intended to stand in the way of Silverstein’s pursuit of the Times Magazine editorship. Loewen said that after Silverstein told his employer last month that he was being considered for the job, Emmis notified the Times that they would have to reach a settlement on the termination of his contract with Emmis to account for the costs associated with finding Silverstein’s replacement, as well as the damage of losing a star editor. New York Magazine / Daily Intelligencer In a statement, Emmis said, “No such agreement was reached and, to date, the Times has refused to even participate in settlement discussions despite numerous attempts” by Emmis to do so.
Few media organizations get as jubilantly jiggy with the juxtaposition as BuzzFeed. And so, we applaud The Independent media editor Ian Burrell for mining that duality throughout his weekend piece on the Jonah Peretti juggernaut.
It’s not news that BuzzFeed’s Fifth Avenue headquarters have meeting rooms named after various page-view-tastic felines. What is news however is how jarring a backdrop this nomenclature can be when a visiting journalist dials up a certain company staffer:
There is the “Winston Bananas Room,” dedicated to a moggy with an extraordinary down-turned mouth, and I am sitting in a space dedicated to the “NoNoNoNo Cat” that I later observe on a YouTube clip that has had more than 10 million views. It was an experience I doubt I will ever forget. Look it up…
According to the Times, Emmis Publishing is claiming that that the Times influenced Silverstein into breaching his contract. The lawsuit states that Silverstein’s contract expires in February of next year.
Eileen Murphy, a Times spokesperson, described the lawsuit as “inexplicable.”
“We had an understanding with Emmis during the search that Jake would be permitted to exit his contract with Emmis and take the job,” Murphy told the Times. “We believe there is no basis for a lawsuit. We look forward to having Mr. Silverstein join the Times next month and help us shape the future of the magazine.”
This probably isn’t how Silverstein envisioned the next step in his career beginning.
Correction (4/12 9:20 am):
An earlier version of this post stated that Emmis was suing the Times and Silverstein. Emmis is suing only the Times.