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HuffPo Wants it All… Next Issue Media’s New Ringmaster…

The Huffington Post thinks the world wants to know more about the arts in all their forms, and is launching yet another section today..

HUFFPO WANTS IT ALL: The Huffington Post thinks the world wants to know more about the arts in all their forms. The site is launching yet another section today, this one called HuffPost Arts, which will cover everything from fine art and sculpture to opera and filmmaking. The section is an outgrowth of the kind of stories that formerly ran in local editions or relevant sections, such as Style. “It won’t be overly formal,” said editor Kimberly Brooks (who happens to be married to filmmaker Albert Brooks, so she should get lots of film world dish). Brooks talked about posting photography of emerging bands and mentioned a new feature called “The Skinny,” which will have the latest on the arts scene, including gallery and museum openings. “The site will also have blogs that people are not normally exposed to,” Brooks added. Senior editor Willow Bay (who is married to Disney chief Robert Iger, so there could be lots of gossip about Mickey, Buzz and Miley) noted that stories about the arts have been popular on The Huffington Post, especially in New York and Los Angeles, and it “felt like the right time” to create a dedicated section. In addition to HuffPost Arts, the site has over the last 12 months launched HuffPost Hill, a daily newsletter covering politics in Washington, HuffPost Food and a Twitter edition. What’s next: HuffPost Commerce? — Amy Wicks

RINGMASTER: It took six months and a national search, but Next Issue Media — the “Super Friends”-style digital joint venture between Hearst Magazines, Condé Nast Publications Inc., Meredith Corp., Time Inc. and News Corp. — has its leader. The collective on Tuesday tapped former TiVo Inc. president Morgan Guenther as chief executive officer. Guenther will be tasked with the not inconsiderable job of creating an online storefront for the partners to sell standardized digital versions of their publications to the still-developing e-reader market. The appointment came just a day after News Corp. acquired a separate online storefront project, Skiff LLC, from fellow partner Hearst in a deal that had some media observers wondering about the fate of Next Issue Media. On Tuesday, Bob Sauerberg, chairman of the Next Issue board and Condé Nast consumer marketing group president, argued the e-reader market was only beginning to heat up and that such experiments are still necessary. “When there’s a lot of fragmentation, you have to try lots of things to come up with…what works,” Sauerberg said of the partners’ independent digital projects. “There will be a variety of ways that consumers get this [product] and a variety of ways that they manage their libraries,” he added.

Guenther will take the reins at Next Issue Media from John Squires, the project’s interim chief and former Time Inc. vice president, who had reportedly sought the permanent position himself. According to Sauerberg, the venture ultimately decided on Guenther because his experience was “really in line with what we felt we needed.” He said the new ceo hasn’t been given a timetable for launch and that Guenther will spend his immediate future assembling a team and consuming the six months worth of research and development the group has conducted thus far. Guenther will head Next Issue Media from its new offices in San Francisco, which will put him much closer to Silicon Valley than the headquarters of his five new bosses. — Matthew Lynch

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