Memo Pad: Arnault and More... Agin Stays, Sort Of...

WSJ., the Wall Street Journal’s glossy magazine, is back with a fashion-themed March issue.

Bernard Arnault on the cover of WSJ

Bernard Arnault on the cover of WSJ.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

ARNAULT AND MORE: WSJ., the Wall Street Journal’s glossy magazine, is back with a fashion-themed March issue, this time with a cover subject that delivers on several of its promises at once: access courtesy of the Journal’s resources (an interview with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief Bernard Arnault), a lifestyle cast to hard news (the article explores how LVMH might fare in the downturn, but also depicts Arnault’s family life by visiting his home), and glossy photography (a cover shot and inside portfolio of Arnault by Mario Testino).

What it delivers significantly less of are ad pages: there are 27 of them, out of 92 total pages in the national edition, and four additional ones in a New York version. By contrast, September’s premiere issue had 51 ad pages out of a total of 104. The third issue, unlike the first two, is saddle-stitched rather than perfect-bound.

Though the original plan was to go monthly this year, WSJ. is remaining a quarterly in response to market conditions. Publisher Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio put it bluntly: “The commitment is there, the investment is there, but the advertising is not. We’re still going full force, but the ad climate is extremely challenging.”

Asmodeo-Giglio emphasized that News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch remains committed to the magazine, despite the deep losses at the Dow Jones operation recently reported by News Corp. “I know that the magazine is a priority for him to maintain and to grow eventually,” she said, adding the initiative has brought in new advertisers that are often bundled with newspaper and digital buys at the Journal.

As for Arnault, in the story he hints LVMH might be looking to acquire more companies. “We’re about to enter a market of buyers over the next six-to-eight months,” he said. “There will be opportunities, and we will be looking at them.” According to the magazine, Arnault was at time of writing “in talks to invest in a fashion company with ecological and ethical goals founded by a global celebrity.” (Neither WSJ. nor Arnault elaborated, but could it be Edun, Bono’s green clothing line?)

Tina Gaudoin, the editor of WSJ., said the magazine will soon become even more “style-oriented.” WSJ. has yet to replace Sasha Wilkins, formerly executive style editor, though former Men’s Vogue fashion news editor Sara James has been acting as style editor. “We are working on the style editor position,” said a spokesman. — Irin Carmon

AGINS STAYS, SORT OF: Speaking of the Journal, Teri Agins — who has her first WSJ. magazine byline, on Rodarte, in the March issue — will continue to write her “Ask Teri” column and possibly additional freelance articles for the paper. Agins, a nearly 25-year Journal veteran, is going to be a contract employee in the wake of the elimination of the fashion and retail bureau, said a spokesman for the newspaper. Other projects may be ahead as well: “I will not disappear,” she told WWD. Some of the staffers who formed the now-defunct bureau have been reassigned to other parts of the paper, where they will continue to cover similar topics, but Francine Schwadel, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan and Jennifer Saranow have left the company. — I.C.

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