META MEDIA: “I know you guys are all quiet and erudite, but come on,” Katie Couric jibed The New Yorker table over its lackluster applause for one of its nominations at Thursday’s Mirror Awards — i.e., a media-industry love-in — at The Plaza Hotel. Couric was like a stand-up comedian at the ceremony, saying of one recognized article: “Personally, that sounds like a buzz kill to me.”
Her patter was less clunky than co-host Arianna Huffington’s, who couldn’t stop with the jokes about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. An example? “Like BP’s ceo, you want your lives back, so this is the last award,” she said as the event approached the three-hour mark. She did land a few, though, not resisting a dig in unveiling the winner of the award for Best Single Article, Traditional Media. “Traditional media — sounds sort of quaint, like the local green market,” she said.
This was the fourth year the Newhouse School at Syracuse University has hosted the Mirror Awards luncheon. And, in a nod to honoree Twitter, winners were encouraged to provide acceptance speeches in 140 characters or less. Biz Stone, the star of the show as Twitter’s co-founder, seemed as surprised as anyone by its success, telling the crowd as he accepted the i-3 Award: “Twitter isn’t a triumph of technology, it’s a triumph of humanity,” adding that “we’re just getting started.”
But it was an emotional Nancy Jo Sales, accepting an award for her Vanity Fair profile, “The Unreal Rise of Jon and Kate Gosselin,” who offered the best — and briefest — remarks. “I find myself strangely moved,” she said, holding back tears. “I’ve been doing this for a long time.”
— Amy Wicks and Nick Axelrod
LURKING: It’s been a slow and relatively quiet bidding process so far for Newsweek, but there are a few strategic suitors waiting on the sidelines until later in the process, according to industry insiders. So far, The Washington Post Co., owner of the beleaguered newsweekly, has accepted bids from OpenGate Capital (owners of TV Guide), Newsmax Media and money manager Thane Ritchie. Sidney Harman, the stereo-equipment honcho, and auto entrepreneur Fred Drasner are also reportedly interested, while some speculate the magazine could be swooped up at the last minute by an entity such as Reuters in the same manner Bloomberg snapped up BusinessWeek.
NEW WORLD: Having financed weekly magazine Globe and the gay monthly Têtu, Pierre Bergé is bidding to save the venerable French daily Le Monde from bankruptcy. Bergé has joined forces with Matthieu Pigasse, the local head of investment bank Lazard, and Xavier Niel, founder of French Internet service provider Free, to take over Le Monde SA, which owns Le Monde, weekly Télérama and other publications, according to a source familiar with the bidding. Other potential bidders are Claude Perdriel, whose media holdings include the weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, and Spanish media group Prisa, which owns a 15 percent stake in the company. Formal offers are due today, but Prisa has indicated it will not be able to meet this deadline, so this date could be pushed back. The final decision on new ownership will rest with the internal shareholders who control Le Monde SA, namely the powerful journalists’ association SRM.
— Joelle Diderich
VOGUE’S NEW P.R. GAL: Vogue tapped Megan Salt as director of public relations. Salt, who will start later this month, takes over responsibilities from director of communications Patrick O’ Connell, who is to stay on through the transition. Salt joined Vogue last year as a special events consultant, working on the first Fashion’s Night Out, and continued to freelance for the magazine since. In addition to handling the magazine’s p.r., Salt will spearhead the organization of Fashion’s Night Out, scheduled for Sept. 10. Susan Portnoy continues to be responsible for press and social media for Fashion’s Night Out specifically.
— Marc Karimzadeh
ON THE ROAD: Pre-collection fatigue be damned — Cynthia Rowley is bringing the mountain to Mohammed this resort season. On Tuesday, the designer will pack her 2011 lineup, plus eight models — “nine, if one drives” — into a location van and drive right to editors’ doorsteps (well, to the curbs of the Condé Nast, Hearst and Time Inc. offices) to stage mini-presentations with her newest wares. “People have complained that the resort collections are taking up so much time,” Rowley explained. “This is our way of making life easier.” (If not her own — Rowley will be fresh off a plane from Milan, where she’s celebrating the launch of her Roxy collection at 10 Corso Como with a press lunch today.) Rowley and Co.’s first stop will be at Condé Nast’s 4 Times Square headquarters at 1 p.m., followed by hour-long visits to Hearst Tower (at 3 p.m.) and the Time & Life Building (at 5 p.m.). At each location, models will pile out of the van and strut down the street in front of the assembled editors. “It really is incorporating this fantasy of fashion with the reality of where it can be worn,” said Rowley. Refreshments will be provided, and for those who can’t rip themselves away from their computers for 15 minutes, the clothes will be back at Rowley’s Bleecker Street showroom for viewings on Wednesday and Thursday.
— Nick Axelrod