YOUNG GENERAL: Bloomberg put the future of BusinessWeek into the hands of 37-year-old Josh Tyrangiel, who on Tuesday was named editor in chief of the magazine once the sale to Bloomberg is complete. Tyrangiel, a Time deputy managing editor, has never been an editor in chief, but has experience growing a legacy brand across new media, most recently as the head of time.com. And that appears to be what BusinessWeek needs most from a future leader, given that it’s made up of editors with mostly print experience who have grown up at the company over, in some cases, decades. “Working closely with him [at Time]….I came to appreciate his intelligence, curiosity, energy and integrity,” said Norman Pearlstine, Bloomberg’s chief content officer and a former editor in chief of Time Inc. “Josh is recognized within Time Inc. and its parent, Time Warner Inc., as an ‘editor’s editor’ and a natural leader.” Tyrangiel will report to Pearlstine, who in turn reports on editorial matters to Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg’s editor in chief.
Some business media insiders believe Tyrangiel’s appointment runs contrary to Pearlstine’s vision of BusinessWeek operating more like The Economist; Pearlstine has said Bloomberg planned to include more global business coverage in the magazine and increase the number of pages and stories. But Tyrangiel, who joined Time as a music critic in 1999 and worked at Vibe and Rolling Stone prior to that, doesn’t exactly have an Economist pedigree. That said, he was well respected at Time as a manager and proved he could organize and promote content successfully on several platforms, according to sources close to Time Inc. (Tyrangiel declined to comment Tuesday). Such skills will come in handy to manage content filtering through BusinessWeek’s staff and Bloomberg’s reporters — scattered internationally and across Bloomberg newswires, magazines and Web sites — and package news into consumer-friendly offerings.
This story first appeared in the November 18, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Meanwhile, staffers at BusinessWeek will soon find out if they’ll be along for the ride with Tyrangiel, as offer letters are expected in their in boxes this week.
BONNIE’S RETURN: Bonnie Fuller has rebooted her career online with Tuesday’s relaunch of celebrity site Hollywoodlife.com. The former editor of YM, Marie Claire, Glamour, Us Weekly and Cosmopolitan has helped create a site for women ages 18 to 35 that speaks to them in the same voice as a girlfriend flipping through Us Weekly on the subway.
While the site includes news and reporting, it’s less focused on the gotcha-esque gossip of other celebrity weeklies — such as Star, which Fuller managed as chief editorial director of American Media Inc. — and more on how readers can apply the fashions, beauty and lifestyles of the stars to their own lives. Oversize photos of the cast of “New Moon” are atop fashion and beauty credits for eyeliner, dresses and hair products the stars use. Products are linked to e-commerce sites for consumers to buy. Coverage also extends to celebrities’ everyday moments and personal struggles: a feature called HollyReal documents celebrities picking up Starbucks, pizza or groceries, for example, and recent news items include how Cindy Crawford is coping after having her nanny’s boyfriend attempt to extort $100,000 from her and her husband, Rande Gerber. According to Fuller, who pioneered the “Stars: They’re Just Like Us!” franchise of celebrity journalism, “Every aspect of celebrity life is an opportunity for women to relate to. Celebs seems more glamorous and more fascinating than us, but they have all the same problems in their lives. They have to get gas, pick up their laundry, take out the garbage.” Crawford’s nanny struggle is an example of that. “She’s a great mom and did everything to the best of her ability, but you never know when you hire a nanny what that nanny can exposure your children to,” said Fuller, speaking to WWD from her cell phone as she edited copy with her staff on the morning of the launch.
Hollywoodlife.com gathered about 700,000 unique visitors before its relaunch, which puts it behind people.com (11 million), tvguide.com (9 million), TMZ (7 million) and Us Weekly (4 million), but the site has already partnered with iVillage and AOL Popeater to help drive traffic. Hollywoodlife.com counts Old Navy, Sony and WEtv among its advertisers. Fuller has recruited several seasoned celebrity reporters, including Corynne Steindler from the New York Post’s Page Six, Laura Schreffler from the New York Daily News’ Gatecrasher column and Eunice Oh, a former People reporter. — Stephanie D. Smith
BOOK DEAL: Much ink has been devoted to Ralph Lauren and his impressive career trajectory from designing ties to building one of the most iconic American fashion houses. Now men’s wear designer and author Alan Flusser is getting the entire story on good authority. Flusser is putting together an authorized biography of Lauren, to be published by HarperCollins and tentatively titled “Ralph Lauren in His Own Fashion.” Flusser, who has known Lauren since the early Seventies, is in the process of conducting interviews and expects to do “at least” a year’s worth of research, including speaking to family members, business associates and members of Lauren’s social circle, before starting to write. It could be at least three years before the book is published.
“I haven’t really felt that any books to date have captured what Ralph’s contribution to the world of fashion and taste have been,” Flusser said, adding that after his early research, “I am thinking Ralph has had more impact on the taste level of the culture than any one single influence I am aware of.”
Beyond design, Lauren’s impact on the lifestyle, marketing and business of fashion can’t be underestimated, according to Flusser, who hopes his book will also underscore that notion. “You can go to Tokyo, to Brazil, Saint-Tropez or Alaska, and walk into a Ralph Lauren store and see the presence of merchandise with the level of taste and sophistication,” Flusser said. “I don’t think anyone in the world has ever exposed as many people with the level of taste as Ralph has.” — Marc Karimzadeh
HAVING A BALL: Talk about teamwork. Soccer icon Zinédine Zidane is to team up with PPR boss François-Henri Pinault and his actress wife Salma Hayek before kickoff at the Rennes Soccer Stadium on Saturday to launch a new Web site raising money for the European Leukodystrophy Association, or ELA. Donations to ledondelachance.com, which translates as “The Gift of Chance,” will go to helping children with Leukodystrophy, a rare genetic disease that destroys the central nervous system, as well as to funding new treatment. Within the last year, two children afflicted with the disease have been saved thanks to the ELA’s efforts.
Members of the public who make a donation between Saturday and Jan. 24 will qualify for a lottery, whose prizes include a car, a vacation destination, jewelry and a plasma television. In addition to ELA ambassador Zidane, also lending their support are Danone, La Française des Jeux, Generali, PPR, the Rennes Soccer Club, TF1 and Young & Rubicam. — Emilie Marsh