OUT OF THE COLD: When Brian Farnham left his post as editor in chief of Time Out New York in late January, his official statement in the magazine’s release was comically vague: “I can’t say much about it right now except that it’s an incredibly big, exciting idea.” Now more details are beginning to trickle out, as the Internet startup Farnham is involved in has begun scouting for hires for something called “Polar News.” The site appears to be backed by Polar Capital Group, which describes itself as a private investment firm focusing on media, technology and sports, and which lists on its Web site investments in Associated Content, a user-generated news site, and Ladies Who Launch, a women’s entrepreneurship site, among others. Farnham, citing a gag order, declined comment.
In listings posted in the past two weeks, the company has sought a creative director for what it described as a “major online news and information start-up.” It’s also seeking a Web analyst, designer and product manager who are asked to understand the meaning of “hyperlocal” — typically, community-level news coverage, sometimes user-generated.
This story first appeared in the March 6, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Though Polar News may just be a working title, if it goes forward it may have some wrangling to do with the current owners of PolarNews.com, which is, perhaps predictably, a news service related to the Arctic and Antarctic areas. — Irin Carmon
SIMPLY MORE: As Real Simple prepares to spin off yet another offering, one former staffer will rejoin the title to help oversee big initiatives. Sarah Humphreys, most recently editor in chief of Blueprint, is returning on March 17 as contributing editor on a six-month project basis. Humphreys was editor when Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. shuttered Blueprint in December but continued working at the company on various projects.
As for brand extensions, the Time Inc. magazine has struck a deal to produce content for television, print, radio and online with TLC, and will launch a show on the channel this fall. TLC picked up 15 episodes of the still-untitled show. The program will help real women “make over” various aspects of their lives, their finances, a room in their home, and their diet. Ads will be sold jointly between Real Simple and TLC.
The magazine had a show on PBS for two years, which was most recently underwritten by The Container Store, Clorox, L’Oréal and TIAA-CREF, but the partnership between the network and Real Simple ended last year. The magazine has also spun off Real Simple Travel, Real Simple Food, Real Simple Weddings, airtime on XM radio, books and a line of products at Target.
Editorial development director Jim Baker has overseen many of these brand spin-offs, and appropriately is teaching a class starting today at New York University’s Center for Publishing about brand development for magazines. The course, which has an expected enrollment of 10 students, will cover topics on building content for the Web, books and special issues, marketing and events. “People who are diehard print people really have to think about what they do as multidimensional,” Baker said. “When you shipped a magazine there was a lull. You were having long lunches and things sort of stopped. Now you have to think about what you’re doing on all sorts of levels. It’s a four dimensional, multidimensional chess game.” — Stephanie D. Smith