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- Penske Media Corp. Appoints George Grobar as Chief Operating Officer
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WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Rolling Stone’s special 40th anniversary issue, on newsstands today, includes a package on the “artists and leaders who helped shape our time” of the past 40 years. The magazine includes interviews with Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Carter, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ringo Star and Paul McCartney, among others. Of these leaders, only two of the subjects are women — Patti Smith and Jane Fonda — and none of the iconic leaders are African-American. Journalist and filmmaker Nelson George, author of “Hip-Hop America,” isn’t surprised, though: “Despite giving lip service to rock’s black roots, [Rolling Stone] paid only sporadic attention to black music or cultural icons from the Sixties right up into the Nineties when hip-hop’s popularity with white kids forced them to cover it. So those selections don’t speak to the reality of black culture’s impact during this period — it speaks to the decision-making and prejudices of Rolling Stone’s editors and publishers during most of its history.”
One could argue the names Jann Wenner and his staff chose speak to many of the issues that most affected Baby Boomers — the war in Vietnam and protest against the draft, free love, drug use, civil rights and women’s rights. But the lack of an African-American among the 20 people seems to completely overlook the seminal issue of race during the period.
Other media observers found the list, at the least, whitewashed. Vibe editor in chief Danyel Smith, who has not seen the issue, believed the package is just a reflection of the audience. “I can only imagine they have a clear idea of who their readership is and they’re doing their best in serving that readership.” But, she added, “it would leave some of us to wonder if that readership is multicultural.” Rolling Stone declined to comment. — Stephanie D. Smith
COPY CAT: It’s not every day an artist takes a designer to task for lifting inspiration from his work. (Just think what would happen to Tom Sachs if it went the other way around.) But that’s exactly what American photographer William Klein, who lives in Paris, has done with John Galliano‘s namesake company. Klein last month won a 200,000 euro, or $266,000, decision from Paris’ Tribunal de Grand Instance court over accusations that Galliano plagiarized the photographer’s work in the spring ads for the Galliano secondary line. A spokeswoman for Galliano said the decision was being appealed. In the meantime, Galliano has stopped the advertising campaign, which already has appeared in Paris Vogue and Numero, among other magazines. The art in question is one of Klein’s well-known photographic contact sheets painted with bold strokes of color. Indeed, Galliano’s campaign, with pictures by Julien d’Ys, features similar bold strokes of color around pictures on a contact sheet. Klein told Paris daily Le Monde that he was “bitter and furious” over the campaign. “In his collections [Galliano’s] a virtuoso,” Klein said. “But [the advertising] is a low blow.” — Robert Murphy
This story first appeared in the April 20, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES: The indestructable Larry King has made a career out of interviewing people whose books he hasn’t read, policies he hasn’t reviewed and movies he hasn’t seen. On Wednesday, there was a party for him at the Four Seasons, where he was asked some Larry King questions.
WWD: So what’s this party for, exactly?
Larry King: I’ve been on the air 50 years.
WWD: Wow. That’s a long time. How old are you now?
L.K.: 73. I’m 73 years old.
WWD: And you still enjoy this talk show thing?
L.K.: I enjoy it every night. I still get the same kick.
WWD: And you’re on how many nights a week now?
L.K.: Five. Five nights a week.
WWD: Five, wow. You recently had a health scare, right?
L.K.: I had a corroded artery.
WWD: And what do they do for that?
L.K.: They go into your neck and take the plaque out of your artery.
WWD: Now, you’re known for being a very tough interviewer so I’m going to ask you a tough personal question. Is your wife here?
L.K.: She’s right there.
WWD: And is she your first wife?
WWD: Here’s another. What’s your favorite question to ask people on your show?
L.K.: It fits any subject, any answer. It always works. You could ask why all day long. — Jacob Bernstein
AWARDS TIME: The season of congratulation, self-administered and otherwise, is upon us. Time Inc.’s 9th annual Henry R. Luce Awards, judged mainly by retired managing editors, were unveiled Thursday by editor in chief John Huey.
People was singled out for outstanding story and deadline reporting, Business 2.0 for personal service, Sports Illustrated for photography, cnnmoney.com for Web site of the year, and Money for public service. (Time Inc.’s moneymaking women’s titles like In Style and Real Simple didn’t make it to the finish line.)
Time won for its story on the Haditha killings in Iraq, initially dismissed by the government but ultimately resulting in four Marines being charged with murder, and for its cowboy diplomacy cover. Departures, technically published by American Express but in partnership with Time Inc., won for both special interests and design, with both citations singling out its October South American issue. The Time story and the Departures issue are also National Magazine Award finalists.
Entertainment Weekly got magazine of the year, despite ad pages being down 7.6 percent last year, newsstand sales being 17.6 percent lower in the second half of 2006 and little positive buzz. (People won last year.) Still, according to Huey’s e-mail to the staff, “Entertainment Weekly has become an addiction for its 1.7 million-plus readers, and no rehab is needed or sought.” Bonnie Angelo, a longtime Time political correspondent and author, was given the lifetime achievement award. Winners took home a bust of Henry Luce. — Irin Carmon
NOT SO FAST: David and Victoria Beckham‘s move to Los Angeles may have less impact on British media than previously thought. One published report said that most British papers are staffing up in Los Angeles in anticipation of the couple’s move. While some British celebrity reporters are nervous about having to relocate, most of the papers so far are either undecided on whether to dispatch reporters to California, or are using existing staffers already in Los Angeles. The Mirror is said to be considering sending one of its 3AM reporters, Caroline Hedley, over to Los Angeles, and the Daily Mail is said to still be figuring out its options. The Sun has declined sending anyone from its London offices over in lieu of using its reporters already in Los Angeles, as will glossy magazine Hello. OK, which has 13 international editions, has a Los Angeles bureau with four British staffers that will cover the Beckhams once they move, according to OK U.S. editor Sarah Ivens. Foreign photo agencies such as Rex Features or Big Pictures aren’t moving their shutterbugs to Los Angeles, unless there’s a huge party or event that would warrant extra coverage.
Meanwhile, the American press is even less interested. Editors at the weeklies feel the Beckhams aren’t a big enough story to warrant a cover, and are waiting to see what they’ll bring to Hollywood. “With Posh and Becks, the idea is much more exciting than the application. Remember, he is a British soccer star, which is a truly foreign concept to Americans, and she is less relevant as a Spice Girl and has gained relevance through friendships with Tom [Cruise] and Katie [Holmes],” said Janice Min, editor in chief of Us Weekly. “It’s going to take some effort on their part to really entrench themselves in the whole celebrity system here.” Victoria had signed a deal with NBC to star in a reality show on her move, which would have helped put the couple on America’s radar, but rumors are swirling that the show has been put on hold.
In Touch editor in chief Richard Spencer also said it’s hard for any sports star to gather a following for readers. “Even when you look at Derek Jeter, he himself doesn’t become a star in the pages of the celeb weeklies. The readers aren’t watching sports as much as they’re watching their movies or TV shows.”— Stephanie D. Smith and Nina Jones
NEW HIRES: Though Us Weekly isn’t looking for new eyes to chase Posh and Becks, it is staffing up its Los Angeles bureau since former West Coast bureau chief Ken Baker moved over in January to become editorial director of usmagazine.com. Us Weekly swapped in European bureau chief Melanie Bromley to replace Baker, while Jeffrey Epstein has joined the Los Angeles office of the magazine as entertainment editor. Both moves are effective immediately. Bromley joined Us Weekly in 2003 and was the magazine’s London correspondent before heading the European bureau. Epstein since 2000 has held various position at Out, where most recently he was West Coast editor, prior to joining Us Weekly. — S.D.S.
WEB WORTHY: The New York Times Co. reported overall sales and advertising sales decreases for the first quarter, compared with the same time a year ago, but its digital business continues to flourish, with sales up 21.6 percent. Janet Robinson, president and chief executive officer, said its digital business accounted for 10 percent of its overall revenue for the quarter — while digital made up 8 percent of the company’s revenue last year. The December relaunch of the Times’ travel site led to more than a 50 percent increase in traffic for the quarter. During the third quarter of this year, Robinson added that a new suite of video (for its Web properties) and mobile services will be introduced.
Predictably, Robinson offered that the “print advertising environment remains very challenging.” And, while telecommunications, residential real estate and automotive industries proved losers for the quarter, international advertising was the clear winner, rising 23 percent. In addition, books, fine arts and live entertainment ads increased — although Robinson reported a 4 percent decrease in ad sales for the Times Media Group.
The company plans to roll out more products this year, including additional issues of T: Beauty Magazine, Key Magazine and more themed issues and sections. The Boston Globe also will unveil its new monthly magazine, Fashion Boston, next month to more than 100,000 of its high-income households in Boston and surrounding areas. — Amy Wicks
MORE FALLS: The Tribune Co. also released its first-quarter earnings Thursday, and operating revenue was down 5 percent, or $54 million compared with the first quarter of 2006, in the publishing division, while ad revenues decreased 6 percent, or $47 million. In a statement, Dennis FitzSimons, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said the print ad environment was challenging due to softness in the classified category. Classified ad sales dropped 14 percent for the quarter and national ad sales were down 2 percent. He added that the company’s interactive division generates significant growth while its newspapers also continue to expand. The Los Angeles Times launched new fashion and travel sections and RedEye will add a weekend edition in May. RedEye, an edition of the Chicago Tribune, is a free daily tabloid newspaper. The company decided not to hold a first-quarter earnings conference call due to its April 2 announcement that it accepted Sam Zell‘s bid to acquire it, and it will go private. — A.W.