MUCH ADO: Angelina Jolie takes yet another cover turn on a glossy magazine on the July newsstand-only issue of Harper’s Bazaar. But eagled-eye fashionistas recognized her over-the-shoulder pose and red-carpet lighting immediately. Sure enough, the photo is a Getty Images one taken in December at the Los Angeles premiere of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” There is no interview with Jolie inside; rather, the feature is an essay by Naomi Wolf on the actress’ appeal.
The use of a wire photo as a cover image set off a firestorm of complaints in the blogosphere, with theories ranging from cost cutting to a cover subject dropping out at the last minute. The subscriber cover features model Doutzen Kroes, shot by Terry Richardson.
This story first appeared in the June 10, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
So why not just put her on both issues? A spokeswoman for the magazine said, “Clearly, we are in an Angelina moment right now, and in a recent online poll, our readers reinforced that, overwhelmingly choosing Angelina as the woman they admired most for having it all. We responded immediately, asking Naomi Wolf to analyze the Angelina phenomenon and rushing to get her photo on the newsstand cover. We’ve done different covers for subscriber copies since 2001.”
But observers were still puzzled. “It’s a sad state when a legitimate [fashion] magazine goes to the lengths of doing a write around. That’s saved for tabloids,” said one Hollywood publicist. Some bloggers believed using Jolie may have been a ploy to boost newsstand sales.
According to figures from Audit Bureau of Circulations’ Rapid Report, newsstand numbers for Bazaar have fallen 15 percent so far this year through April, to an average of about 155,000 copies. Comparatively, Vogue’s newsstand sales are up 4 percent so far this year, averaging around 400,000 copies through April, a bounce buoyed in part by landing First Lady Michelle Obama for its March cover. Elle’s newsstand sales through April are off 16 percent; W’s single copy sales are off 9 percent, and, through March, InStyle’s single copy sales have dropped 20 percent compared to the same period last year. — S.D.S.
FABIEN’S RETURN: Fabien Baron is back at Interview. After parting ways with the magazine in January, Baron was brought back to the title on Tuesday by Brant Publications owner Peter Brant — but this time as sole editorial director. “At Interview, we wanted an editorial director who not only understands and appreciates the magazine’s history, but who also has the vision to carry the magazine into a new era. Fabien will keep Interview at the forefront of culture and make it relevant for a whole new generation of readers,” Brant stated.
Baron’s arrival comes after Glenn O’Brien was pushed out Monday in a continuation of a year’s worth of turmoil at the magazine. O’Brien joined Brant Publications with Baron last spring, when both were tapped as co-editorial directors, then took sole control after Baron left six months ago. O’Brien could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
“I feel very fortunate to return to my former role and am pleased to have the opportunity to guide this legendary title through the current paradigm shift in the industry. I will put my heart in giving Interview the best of my work in a positive and creative environment,” said Baron.
When he resigned in January, insiders grumbled over his expensive photo shoots for the magazine and his lack of day-to-day involvement. But sources said Peter Brant’s son, Ryan Brant, courted Baron to make a comeback. The younger Brant, who founded gaming company Take Two Interactive, has taken a larger role at Brant Publications ever since his father became embroiled in a high-profile divorce battle with his wife, Stephanie Seymour Brant.
In addition to being the top dog, there is another change in Baron’s role in his second outing: he now will concentrate solely on Interview, versus last time when he and O’Brien also oversaw Brant’s art titles Art in America and The Magazine Antiques.
Baron’s return isn’t the last of changes to come. Sources close to the magazine said former creative director Karl Templer, who resigned along with Baron in January, could be returning to the magazine. Meanwhile, art director Stella Bugbee, who joined less than two months ago, has said to have quit her job. — Stephanie D. Smith
FEWER OBSERVERS: Before New York Observer staffers attended the going-away party for Peter Kaplan last week, interim editor in chief Tom McGeveran told editorial employees layoffs were coming by last Friday. And as predicted, McGeveran cut a third of the 30- to 40-person edit team, including managing editor Jesse Wegman; executive editor Peter Stevenson; national correspondent Joe Conason; movie reviewer Andrew Sarris; editors Damian Da Costa, Matt Haber, Chris Shott and John Vorwald; reporters Spencer Morgan and Doree Shafir; writer George Gurley, and photo editor Alana Kaloshi was also let go. Most of the beat reporters who produce stories daily will remain at the paper. The Observer’s print and online staffers will also work closer together going forward, with most contributing to and editing on both platforms. According to sources close to the paper, the moves were based on a need to trim the editorial budget as financial pressures mount, and not a reflection of the regime change of McGeveran taking over as editor. However, an increase in the Observer’s freelance budget is commensurate with the salaried staff cuts, and some laid off writers could freelance for the paper.
On Monday, Observer owner Jared Kushner addressed the remaining edit team to reassure them of his commitment to the paper, his hope to rehire back some staffers as financials improve and even spoke of growth plans. According to several sources, the Observer Media Group is pursuing a joint venture with e-mail newsletter Very Short List, which was founded by Kurt Andersen and is funded by IAC. A deal could happen in the next few weeks, said sources. “IAC and Jared have been having serious discussions,” said Andersen A spokeswoman for the Observer had no comment. — S.D.S.
NOT MY FAULT: “I did not single-handedly kill newspapers,” Arianna Huffington exclaimed to a room full of writers and editors, on hand for the annual Newhouse School Mirror Awards on Tuesday. “I have had a lot of help from Craigslist.” She made a similar statement Monday evening at the Webby Awards, but expanded on her take on the media environment when she received the Fred Dressler lifetime achievement award Tuesday. Nora Ephron, who presented the award, said she didn’t like Huffington the first time they met because they were dating the same man. (Huffington later said she might post the man’s identity on Twitter.)
Huffington preached to the media crowd that pay walls won’t work unless the sites are selling something specialized and said if changes aren’t made, the industry could become “like Detroit.” She also stressed the Huffington Post pays its editors — but bloggers still do not get paid.
Other Mirror Awards winners took a much different approach, where most simply walked up to the podium and accepted their awards without providing further comment. Vanity Fair took home two awards, including Seth Mnookin’s “Bloomberg Without Bloomberg,” for the “best single article, traditional media,” and David Kamp’s “Requiem for a Micro-celebrity,” won for “best single article, digital media.” The New York Times also received two awards, one was given to David Carr for “best commentary, traditional media,” and David Barstow’s “Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand” and “One Man’s Military-industrial-Media Complex” won for “best in-depth piece, traditional media.” The “best profile” was awarded to The New Yorker’s Ian Parker, for “The Bright Side,” and Clive Thompson won for “best commentary, digital media,” for wired.com. — Amy Wicks
PORTRAIT OF A LADY: Kanye West will host Men.Style.com’s third annual “25 Women of Fashion” celebration tonight at the newly opened Palace Gate lounge in the courtyard of New York’s Palace Hotel. The event celebrates industry insiders “who make the world more glamorous,” said Dirk Standen, editor in chief of Men.Style.com and its sibling site, Style.com. This year’s party will have a twist: Olivier Zahm, editor of Purple Fashion, will photograph honorees like Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Charlotte Ronson, Rachel Roy and Alexa Chung in a suite inside the hotel during the event. The snaps will appear with a feature on Men.Style.com the following day.
The women were chosen by an all-male panel that included designers Rogan Gregory and Philip Crangi; hockey star and ex-Vogue intern Sean Avery; DJ Paul Sevigny, and The Sartorialist blogger Scott Schuman. — David Lipke