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Memo Pad: Another Day, Another Defection… Teen Beat… Business As Usual

Alyce Alston is the latest lieutenant to follow Mary Berner to Reader's Digest Association. The former publisher of W was named president, Home & Garden and Health & Wellness, as Berner organizes an executive committee and plans to build the RDA...

Teen Vogue Magazine.

Teen Vogue Magazine.

WWD Staff

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DEFECTION: Alyce Alston is the latest lieutenant to follow Mary Berner to Reader’s Digest Association. The former publisher of W was named president, Home & Garden and Health & Wellness, as Berner organizes an executive committee and plans to build the RDA properties around reader interests. Alston will leave her current position as De Beers’ chief executive officer at the end of the month and will join former Condé Nast executives Suzanne Grimes and Eva Dillon at RDA. “This is a huge step forward for me,” said Alston on her move. “The vision is to restructure the company. That’s what I do. I launch brands and restructure companies. It’s a huge opportunity and I couldn’t pass it up. It’s nothing against De Beers; it’s been an amazing ride.” — Stephanie D. Smith

TEEN BEAT: At least one magazine’s cross-platform promotions has helped generate buzz for the printed product. Since the MTV reality show “The Hills,” based on Teen Vogue intern Lauren Conrad, returned in mid-January, newsstand sales for the Condé Nast teen title have increased by double digits over last year. Based on early internal estimates, Teen Vogue’s newsstand for February and March are on track to post at least a 16 percent growth over the same issues last year. In 2006, its February issue sold 174,378 copies; the March edition moved 190,375 issues. Ratings for the popular MTV drama have reached 2.5 million viewers on average this season, compared with 2.3 million last season, but the MTV show may not fully account for the uptick in Teen Vogue’s single-copy sales. Fewer competitors in the teen category may have helped: Hachette Filipacchi Media shuttered Ellegirl in April, while Time Inc. closed Teen People in July.

Meanwhile, Teen Vogue will repeat in October its weekend-long Fashion U event, where teens attend seminars and classes to learn about the business of fashion. Last year, 500 students listened to executives and designers from Catherine Malandrino, Juicy Couture, Barneys, Thakoon Panichgul, Rebecca Taylor and “Project Runway” mentor Tim Gunn. Next year, Gunn will make time in between “Project Runway” and his new gig as chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne to participate in Fashion U. Additional participants have yet to be confirmed. — S.D.S.

BUSINESS AS USUAL?: Uncertainty and change in the media world were both implicit and explicit at the American Business Media’s 53rd annual Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Awards, held at the Waldorf-Astoria Thursday. There were the two awards Editor & Publisher took home for its news coverage of the new challenges in war reporting, and for its series on the sale of Knight Ridder and its reverberations throughout the industry. And, though the team from The American Lawyer could take comfort in winning three awards in its revenue category (for best single-theme issue, best single issue and best single article), it still had to contend with news this week that its parent company might be sold by Wasserstein & Co., headed by New York magazine owner Bruce Wasserstein. Then there was, inevitably, the challenges of the Internet. Forbes.com won for best Web site in the largest classification, while a businessweek.com Small Biz feature won for best online article or series. But the judges decided not to give an award in its newest category, Best Use of a Personal Voice Online. Co-host Diana Henriques, a financial investigative reporter at The New York Times, told the audience that judges believed nominations should be “more than just an opinion column with repurposed content on the Web — but it was a good first try.”
— Irin Carmon