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OFF THE RECORD, THEN ON: People managing editor Larry Hackett addressed journalism students and interested members of the public — about 35 people all told — for 98 minutes, off the record at his insistence, on Thursday evening at Columbia University. There were free copies of People StyleWatch and People en Español up for grabs at the back of the lecture hall. Hackett was joined by the editors of those titles, Susan Kaufman and Ernesto Sanchez, respectively, and People.com editor Mark Golin on stage.
Afterward, Hackett agreed to chat for a moment on the record. He said the royal wedding is without a doubt the biggest story for him at the moment. “I think as we get into the springtime and people are feeling better, there is great interest in this couple. They’re good-looking. It’s a fairy tale, right?” Hackett said. “He’s a good-looking guy, he’s Diana’s son, she’s adorable, and I think it’s what we do very well.”
Hackett will need some fairy dust to close his issue. The wedding will take place on Friday, April 29, in London, at 5 a.m. New York time, and the magazine closes the following afternoon. If that weren’t tight already, Hackett’s hosting a party for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C., on Friday night. He hopes to be through cover selection before he heads south. “I’m not coming back to New York, but I’ll be in consultation with my guys here,” Hackett said.
He said it has been business as usual in the magazine’s offices since the ouster of Time Inc. chief executive officer Jack Griffin in February. “John [Huey] and Maurice [Edelson] and Howard [Averill] are running things, and it’s been fine,” Hackett said about the company’s interim chief executive triumvirate — cobbled together from Time Inc.’s chief financial officer, editor in chief and general counsel. “The fact of the matter is, many magazines at Time Inc. run themselves — I mean, we’re in the style and entertainment group run by Martha [Nelson]. We know what we want to do for 2011 and, not that Jack disagreed with that, but we’re continuing with that plan.”
Asked if he was invested in who would become the company’s next ceo, Hackett said, “Sure.” And did he think the next ceo will come, like Griffin, from outside Time Inc.? “I don’t know, and I probably wouldn’t tell you,” Hackett said. “Listen, I got to run.”
— Zeke Turner