fashion-memopad
fashion-memopad

Memo Pad: Open For Business... Cheap Date

Today, as the first issue of Conde Nast Portfolio makes its debut on New York newsstands with 332 total pages, 185 of them advertising, one of the most scrutinized - and expensive - magazine launches in history will finally show its cards.

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Tom Wolfe

Photo By Annie Leibovitz

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Today, as the first issue of Condé Nast Portfolio makes its debut on New York newsstands with 332 total pages, 185 of them advertising, one of the most scrutinized — and expensive — magazine launches in history will finally show its cards.

Editor in chief Joanne Lipman sums up the philosophy in her editor's letter: "Business is about power. And guts. And passion. Business coverage should be, too." (A photograph of Lipman with her father, who passed away in mid-February, appears alongside a brief tribute to him in the letter.) In an interview, Lipman also stressed the magazine's design and photography — precisely the aspects skeptics doubted a newspaper veteran like Lipman could master — and said that for the cover, she had turned to fine arts photographer Scott Peterman to create "an iconic image" meant to convey "the excitement of business." That image, as WWD reported, is an overhead shot of New York City skyscrapers at night, and it is unencumbered by cover lines. Instead, a cover flap, like the one on The New Yorker, that will go to both subscribers and newsstand buyers teases stories by some of the magazine's best-known contributors (Tom Wolfe on hedge fund bigwigs, Michael Lewis on Tiger Woods, Matt Cooper on his entanglement in the Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial) and two younger writers (former New York Observer reporters Gabriel Sherman and Sheelah Kolhatkar on the investor who instigated Knight Ridder's sale and the women of private equity, respectively). The Web site also was launched today.

But the story topics indicate the difficulties a monthly business title — even one with funding of from $100 million to what some now say is $125 million — faces against instantaneous Internet wires, dailies, weeklies and bi-weeklies. New York magazine's cover story last week was on hedge funds; the Libby trial finished over a month ago.

The original goal of attracting more business and financial advertisers to Condé Nast's fashion and luxury ad base appears to have been met, in the launch issue, at least: Of the 53 business advertisers appearing in the debut issue, 20 were new to the company and another 10 had run in just one Condé Nast title in the last two years, primarily in titles like Wired and Golf Digest.
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