NEW YORK TO NEW YORK: Two weeks ago, The New York Times Magazine plucked New York Magazine contributor Jennifer Senior as a contributor. One of the better-known writers at New York, Senior was responsible for several buzzworthy features, including a profile on Graydon Carter three years ago that delved deeply into his past and wondered aloud whether he had become at Vanity Fair the kind of person he used to lampoon at Spy. She also wrote profiles of Jesse Helms and Ann Richards and a cover story last summer on divorcing your therapist.
It’s hardly disastrous for New York editor Caroline Miller, but in an unrelated, though equally annoying advance, the paper is also going after another of her stars. According to several sources, the Times’ Sunday Styles section has been talking with contributing editor Vanessa Grigoriadis about the possibility of coming over to their section of the paper.
Originally, the paper was thought to be looking for a contributor to fill in for Alex Kuczynski, who is on leave writing a book, but sources said that if Grigoriadas winds up there, it could be in a more permanent position.
Grigoriadas, a reporter with a Kuczynski-like ability to generate buzz (her first major story for New York on power p.r. girls Lara Shriftman and Lizzie Grubman generated a movie deal), uncharacteristically declined comment. Trip Gabriel, editor of the Times’ fashion news coverage, did not return a call seeking comment. — Jacob Bernstein
SCHOOL TRIP: What’s that you say? Financial problems at AOL Time Warner? Comedy Central sold to Viacom as a way to reduce debt, while executives toil away trying to sell the company’s music division? No matter. Next week, the entire editorial staff of In Style magazine will be taken on an all-expenses-paid retreat to St. John in the Virgin Islands.
But don’t judge too quickly. “St. John is probably inexpensive compared to some place in Europe,” said one Time Inc. source. “These things used to be kind of normal. They sent the staff of People to Portugal for an off-site.”
Plus, said another source, “they’ve been doing those trips for years. Anyway, they’re still thick as a telephone book.”
An In Style spokeswoman confirmed the trip. She said she was unaware of which of the magazine’s budgets was paying for it. — J.B.
SEPARATE BUT EQUAL: She tried to get out, but Hearst Magazines has pulled Sabrina Weill back in. Thursday’s official announcement that Hearst had won the auction for Seventeen — paying Primedia $180 million for the privilege —meant that Weill, its editor, will rejoin the company she bolted last fall to take the job. And although she was Atoosa Rubenstein’s number two when she left, she’s apparently back as the Cosmogirl! editor’s equal.
Meeting with Seventeen’s staff Thursday afternoon, Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black stressed that Seventeen would be run separately from Cosmogirl!, would stay put in its offices at 1440 Broadway for the next six months to a year, and that she didn’t really believe in synergy, anyway. But her joke that “We’re never going to make you write Lifetime stories” didn’t sit well with a staff worried about second-class citizenship.
They have a right to be. “When Sabrina left, it was a competitive thing” with Rubenstein, said a source at Hearst, “and I think Atoosa sort of figured out which messes had been hers. I don’t know how they’re going to have these two things side-by-side.”
It may all make sense from a publishing perspective, however. “Hearst has always wanted some kind of competitive package to fight Condé Nast with,” said a rival publisher. “All of a sudden you have another product to integrate with Cosmogirl! and Cosmo.”
WHO’S LUCKY? At presstime, Condé Nast was said to be near an announcement, possibly today, as to whom might be the editor of its men’s version of Lucky. As of late Thursday, candidates who were out of the running were said to be informed of this, while sources said a possible frontrunner for the job is Ariel Foxman, a young editor at In Style who edits large portions of the servicey front of the book’s shopping and home sections. Also up for the job was GQ senior editor Mark Healy, though sources said that he was out of the running. A third candidate may exist, but this appeared less likely. Condé Nast declined to comment. — J.B. and G.L.