If you can’t get Nikki Finke, go for…Janice Min? A few months ago, Finke claimed she turned down an annual salary of $450,000 and a $1 million Malibu home that was on offer if she became editor in chief of The Hollywood Reporter. Now, Richard Beckman, chief executive officer of the title’s parent, e5 Global Media, has tapped Min as editorial director of the trade publication. Media observers will be watching closely to see how the former celebrity tabloid editor, who has previously walked into winning situations at publications such as InStyle and Us Weekly — and built on those successes — will perform at a struggling title. One thing is certain: Min couldn’t have come cheap. She exited Us Weekly making well over $1 million a year, leading some to speculate The Hollywood Reporter’s parent must be offering her some equity — as well as, perhaps, that $1 million Malibu home Finke talked about, since she’ll be relocating to Los Angeles.
Both Min and Beckman declined comment Wednesday. Nonetheless, while the appointment is a buzz-building one, it also stirs more questions than there are answers at this point. Given that all of Min’s experience is in the consumer world, does this mean Beckman plans to turn The Hollywood Reporter and its Web site into more of a consumer play rather than a B2B? (Min reportedly denied such a plan is in the works.) And since her stint at Us Weekly covering celebrities irked many of them, how will they and their agents feel about leaking scoops to her? As for the size of the platform: The Hollywood Reporter’s circulation is less than 30,000, while Us Weekly’s was approaching 2 million during her stint. Then there’s the big one: How will Min compete with the likes of Finke’s must-read (and much-feared) Deadline.com, as well as Sharon Waxman’s Thewrap.com?
This story first appeared in the May 27, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
— Amy Wicks
It looks like another wave of layoffs is coming to Forbes. Although True/Slant founder Lewis Dvorkin doesn’t officially assume responsibility for all of Forbes’ editorial areas as chief product officer until Tuesday, insiders say he has been paying close attention to the masthead since he started consulting for the company last month. This time around, it is believed layoffs will affect the top of the masthead, which currently boasts two chief editors (William Baldwin on the print side and Paul Maidment for online), four managing editors, seven executive editors and 11 department heads. (Lucy Maher, who was the eighth executive editor and headed up the lifestyle channel, just resigned from the magazine. She is moving to Hearst Magazines Digital Media as executive director of network programming, effective June 7.) “He’s going to be ruthless about the cuts,” said one insider of Dvorkin.
It’s no news morale has been at rock bottom at Forbes, nor that the company has been hurting financially. In January, Forbes sold its lower-Fifth Avenue headquarters to New York University. Last year, the company laid off about 100 workers and auctioned off its wine collection. And things aren’t necessarily looking up. Year to date, ad pages in the magazine have declined about 22 percent, according to Media Industry Newsletter. Most of its competitors, meanwhile, have posted only single-digit declines in ad pages. And in the second half of last year, Forbes’ newsstand sales were down about 9 percent compared with the same period of 2008, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. A Forbes spokeswoman denied the speculation, saying: “There has been no talk of layoffs.” Dvorkin was unavailable for comment.
— Nick Axelrod