THE BIG GET: Barbara Walters and “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft discussed the dos and don’ts of television journalism at a Tuesday morning breakfast sponsored by The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. The two were interviewed by The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta, who writes the magazine’s “Annals of Communications.”
For Walters, the don’ts of good interviewing include not allowing the subject or their handlers to approve questions in advance, or letting subjects offer the same answer to you and your competitors. Take embattled Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor. “Doesn’t matter how many of us did him, we all got the same answer,” she said. Conversely, Walters said that “you must do your homework” before conducting an interview, so “that when you’re stuck, you almost know more about the person than they know themselves.”
This story first appeared in the February 18, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Both Kroft and Walters agreed one shouldn’t be friends with a subject. Being that Kroft’s show often profiles people or situations once they’ve become infamous rather than famous, “I try to hang out with a group of people that would not really be candidates for ‘60 Minutes,’” he said.
Both believe in the art of asking the obvious. After Auletta asked the duo what the dumbest question they’ve ever asked was, Walters told the classic story of how she asked Katharine Hepburn what kind of tree she would be after the actress likened herself to one. “If somebody says that they’re an old tree, wouldn’t you say ‘what kind of a tree?’” she asked. Kroft agreed, and also said one shouldn’t be afraid to make those less than hard-hitting inquiries. “I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a dumb question, particularly when you’re on tape and you can edit it out later.” — Stephanie D. Smith
WHERE DO THEY FIND THE TIME? Models Heidi Klum and Coco Rocha are on a comical quest to save New York Fashion Week and film director Douglas Keeve (of “Unzipped” and “Seamless”) has captured the duo in a series of four Webisodes that also feature guest appearances by Elle’s Joe Zee, Michael Kors, Leighton Meester and Christian Siriano. The series began as a lark in September and now Klum, aka “The Kluminator,” and Rocha, who goes by the nickname “Sassy Superhero,” are shown avoiding a chain of fashion disasters to save the fashion community at Bryant Park from potential vaporization. The models, clad in tight spandex apparently befitting superheroines, are online now at Modelinia.com. — Amy Wicks
PRINT TO WEB: After its demise in 2003, urban beauty and fashion magazine Honey has been resuscitated by Sahara Holdings as a Web-only property, Honeymag.com. The site, which went live this week, will cover fashion and beauty for 18- to 34-year-old women of color, and host user-generated content from blogs collected at another Sahara-owned Web site, Hivespot.com. Sahara Holdings reportedly bought the title for $600,000 nearly four years ago, and since then has spent a few million dollars preparing for the launch of the Web site. Shanel Odum, a former editor at Vibe, serves as editor in chief.
Honey was founded by Harris Publications and was one of the few fashion and beauty titles that spoke to multiethnic women. The title garnered a 1.5 million circulation at its peak, and was a precursor to Vibe Vixen and Time Inc.’s Suede, which targeted similar audiences. Vanguard Media acquired the magazine in 1999, but eventually shuttered it in 2003. Sahara Holdings has already leveraged the remaining subscription list of 600,000 to create a broad reader base at launch, and will collaborate with online ad networks including BET and Glam.com to gather advertisers. As of Monday, clients already promoting on Honeymag.com included Eos shave cream and Honda Civic Coupe. — S.D.S.