RUSH JOB: John Byrne wrote 57 cover stories for BusinessWeek before bolting last April to edit Fast Company, but it seems he’s still giving his old colleagues ideas. Last week’s BW featured hip-hop/apparel entrepreneur Russell Simmons on its cover with his face cloaked in shadow beneath the brim of his ubiquitous baseball cap. He’s holding the same pose in the opening spread of FC’s cover story on Simmons in the November issue — which began arriving in subscribers’ mailboxes a week before BW’s profile closed. “The curious thing is, they did have access to our issue,” said Byrne, “and it’s curious that this BW alum would leave and — bingo! — all of a sudden we seem to be in competition.”

BusinessWeek had to know what Fast Company was up to — the former’s photo shoot with Simmons was scheduled two weeks after the latter’s, according to Simmons’ spokeswoman, and both stories share sources like Donald Trump. BusinessWeek may have had its story in the works before Fast Company shipped, but, Byrne said, “I know that [editor in chief] Steve Shepard and crew had our cover by the ninth of October, and they closed their issue on Oct. 15 and then it came out on the 17th and 18th.”

Maybe so, but a BW spokesman said the magazine completed its Simmons story a few weeks before FC broke and its rival’s story didn’t have an impact on BW’s coverage. As for influence, the spokesman said, “I know they have a Wal-Mart cover story coming, and we had one a few weeks ago. Who knows? They might be inspired.” — Greg Lindsay

Nine Lives, Nine CRIES:
On Monday, The New Yorker published its 9,000-word Ken Auletta profile on The Wall Street Journal. Among the piece’s revelations? That Karen Elliott House, the newspaper’s controversial publisher and wife of Dow Jones chief executive officer Peter Kann, cried nine times during Auletta’s interviews with her. So what led to all this uncontrollable sobbing each and every time? Unfortunately, Auletta could only remember six of the tearful instances.Number one: “I was sitting there in her office for the first interview and she had this reputation for being cold. So I was running through her biography and she began to talk about her father and how she had learned not to conform from him and that she hadn’t appreciated that then, but did now. And she started to cry. So I made a note of it and wondered whether she wasn’t trying to undermine this reputation she had.”

Two: Discussing Daniel Pearl, the Journal reporter who was murdered by Islamic extremists in 2001.

Three: 9/11. The then-foreign editor, John Busse, who was filing radio addresses and writing copy, had refused to leave the Journal’s headquarters by Ground Zero and security guards had to escort him out. (He’s alive and well and the paper won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage.)

Four: Discussing managing editor Paul Steiger,. “That’s when I leaned forward and asked her why she was crying. And she said, ‘He’s a great guy.’”

Five: Discussing her husband, Kann. “I asked her what was special about him as a ceo.”

Six: When asked about the relationship between the family [the Bancrofts] and the company and how they treat their journalists. “She got choked up about the wonderful values of the families.”

“She cries when she gets sentimental,” Auletta said Monday, “but it is weird. Then you think, ‘Am I being sexist putting this in the piece?’, a conversation we had at The New Yorker. It’s just an odd, disconcerting thing. She’s the iron lady. She’s Margaret Thatcher, and then you see her cry and are just completely floored.”
— Jacob Bernstein

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