Women’s Wear Daily
04.20.2014
fashion-memopad
fashion-memopad

Memo Pad: All About the Brand... A Serious Joke... No Impact - Yet...

The American Magazine Conference, as led by Men's Health editor in chief David Zinczenko, resolutely pushed its digital and multiplatform future — determined to be anything but a wake for the industry, as Zinczenko put it.

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ALL ABOUT THE BRAND: The American Magazine Conference, as led by Men's Health editor in chief David Zinczenko, resolutely pushed its digital and multiplatform future — determined to be anything but a wake for the industry, as Zinczenko put it. As Arianna Huffington noted from the stage, no one had to be convinced anymore to get on board for digital change — presumably not the restless audience members, nursing their BlackBerrys. (One or two paged through a magazine.) Bloggers blogged in real time about sessions on digital strategies; they blogged about what other bloggers were doing, and e-mailed blog posts about themselves to each other across the room. New York Times media columnist David Carr asked a panel of editors if they were wistful for the old days, when the editor wasn't "an octopus," when they could nurse copy and go home. But there was no turning back, not for them and not for attendees remembering the leisurely golf-and-pool affairs of conferences past.

Still, there was play, and though there were notable absences — very little Time Inc. presence, with editor in chief John Huey and chief executive officer Ann Moore in India for the Fortune Global Forum, and a couple of editors in chief on the schedule canceling at the last minute — Niche Media ceo Jason Binn still managed an all-star lineup for his annual private dinner. (Tradition was maintained, though rumor had it he'd been discouraged from having the dinner this year, apparently to avoid taking power players out of the mix.) Guests like politics panel moderator Dan Rather, Hearst magazines president Cathie Black (whose book was distributed to guests) with several of her top executives, a slew of media reporters, and Playboy editor in chief Chris Napolitano were joined, somewhat inexplicably, by Miami Heat basketball player Alonzo Mourning and his wife. When Binn thanked Hachette ceo Jack Kliger for playing sommelier, Kliger helpfully pointed out that Binn had put up the cash.

By Monday afternoon, Zinczenko was still blithely torturing the English language both by pushing the term "magabrands" (despite an early onstage warning from Advertising Age editor in chief Jonah Bloom that he was boycotting it) and overindulging in puns. (He recommended the "magabrandy" signature drink but reminded attendees they were there to "learn about synergy, not sin.") But he was also practicing what he preached, notwithstanding having put in respectable time at the bar the night before: he made a live TV appearance at 8:20 a.m. with ex-Forbes managing editor and new CNBC media and technology editor Dennis Kneale — the conference's first national TV coverage. Kneale, fittingly, once tried to go a week without communications technology for a "Today" show segment. His sobbing breakdown after is still a hit on YouTube.
— Irin Carmon
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