Memo Pad: Steve Florio Hospitalized...

Former Conde Nast Publications Inc. chief executive officer Steve Florio has been hospitalized and is seriously ill following a recent heart attack.

Asked for comment, Gawker publisher Nick Denton — for whom Sicha has worked in two stints since 2003 — pointed only to Sicha's quote in a recent New York magazine story on Gawker: "Not a week goes by I don't want to quit this job, because staring at New York this way makes me sick," Sicha told the magazine.

Gould said the pay-for-traffic model both encouraged "pandering" and killed the camaraderie between editors by putting them in direct competition. A former book editor, she said she'd like to start a site about books and literary life, though she has no concrete plans yet. Sicha said he'd tired of management life and couldn't get excited by Denton's latest plan for the site to move into social networking.

By the end of the day, Gawker was advertising for a new managing editor, trumpeting its evolving allegiance to mainstream media standards. "Gawker is becoming a larger and more complex operation, and, frankly, a more traditional one. It's no longer enough to take stories from The New York Times and add a dash of snark. Gawker needs to break and develop more stories....Think of Gawker less as a blog than as a full-blown news site."

Even in its fluctuations of influence and quality, the site is still a mainstay for bored media folk and hangers-on. Both the departed editors echoed questions raised in that New York magazine piece — the worry that the antiestablishment stance had degenerated to a mere pose, and that in the meantime, mainstream media was sharing more and more of its baser values of scandal and snark. Said Sicha, "Sometimes Gawker's journalism, sometimes it's not — and it doesn't necessarily care about what it is."
— I.C.

BEST MAN: Best Life is expanding its reach to more fashionable men over 35. The magazine will raise its rate base to 500,000 from 450,000 in January. As publisher Michael Wolfe explained, the half-million mark represents a significant landmark for the title. "It gives you a real stamp of power and legitimacy," he said. It also means the title surpasses Details in terms of circulation (that magazine's rate base is 425,000), but is still behind Esquire (700,000) and GQ (850,000). Best Life launched in 2004 with a rate base of 200,000. Meanwhile, the title will continue to deepen its focus on fashion via expanded sections and a change in its publishing calendar. Designer Eric Villency will open the front section of the magazine with style advice every issue, and the fashion section will include more product picks and profiles of designers, as well as their clothes. It will also publish a June-July double issue, as opposed to a July-August issue in previous years, and a stand-alone August issue in 2008. The change pushes forward the magazine's newsstand date so it can produce a stronger fall fashion preview issue in August. Best Life's new emphasis on fashion helped boost ad pages 37 percent this year, to 584, with the help of 99 new advertisers primarily in fashion, retail, jewelry and watches.
— Stephanie D. Smith
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