GOOGLing PORTFOLIO: Condé Nast executives were likely reassured by Joanne Lipman‘s first public performance as editor in chief of the company’s forthcoming business magazine, Condé Nast Portfolio. On Thursday, Lipman conducted a lively interview with Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt before a crowd of several dozen potential advertisers and journalists at the Four Seasons. (Not nearly as extravagant as it sounds. Lunch consisted of a single course — a breaded fish fillet — and a passed tray of petit fours.)

Early in the program, Lipman read aloud a somewhat embarrassing quote from Schmidt she had found by Googling him. “This is the problem with search engines,” he quipped. (Incidentally, the first link that pops up in a Google search of Lipman’s name is a gossip item from Their conversation, which focused on Google’s evolving advertising model, was filmed and uploaded on after the event.

In other Portfolio news, it seems the magazine’s marketing budget extends beyond the fish plate at the Four Seasons — but not by much. At a race Wednesday in New York called the Media Challenge, in which various media companies compete against one another, all Condé Nast employees wore shirts with a corporate logo — except for the Portfolio runners, who had Portfolio logos emblazoned on theirs, with “We’re Up and Running!” printed on the back.

Said one participant: “It was a little sad, really.”
Sara James

SEARCH AND RESCUE: As OK magazine closes in on the first anniversary of its U.S. arrival, a shake-up, of sorts, is afoot. Richard Desmond, owner of both the American edition and the U.K. version that spawned it, was in town Thursday to search for a new publisher for the U.S. title. Desmond called from the Four Seasons Hotel, where he was interviewing candidates, to confirm the search was in progress. Asked what that means for Melanie Danks, OK’s current publisher, he declined to comment, but sources believe she is on the way out. Meanwhile, chief executive officer Christian Toksvig is said to be in discussions about moving back to the U.K. Asked whether Toksvig will relocate, Desmond said, “He is in charge of international licensing, so that could well be the situation.” OK’s newsstand sales have been up since the title cut its cover price from $3.29 to $1.99 in February, but it still lags behind all the other titles in the category.
Jeff Bercovici

This story first appeared in the June 16, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

LOSING HIS VOICE: Being editor of the Village Voice in the twilight era of alternative weeklies is bound to be a thankless task. Erik Wemple apparently figured that out, although not until after he’d accepted the job. The paper informed its employees late Thursday afternoon that Wemple had decided to remain at the Washington City Paper, where he’s been editor since 2002, rather than assume the post he was named to amid much fanfare earlier this month. “Although Wemple accepted the job of editor in chief of the historic Voice — even introducing himself to the staff — subsequent discussions revealed disagreements over newsroom management,” said the staff memo, which was first posted on

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