HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: Gawker.com’s reason for being is to poke fun at the overhyped people, places and things of the media universe, be it Lindsay Lohan, Bungalow 8 or Radar magazine. But recently, the gossip blog has itself been flirting with overexposure — at least in the eyes of its owner, cybermogul Nick Denton.

According to two sources, Denton turned down a request to be interviewed by The New Yorker about Gawker some weeks ago, saying he felt the site and its editors had been receiving too much publicity. Although Denton expressed willingness to talk about Lifehacker and Valleywag, two of the newer entries in his stable of blogs, the writer, John Cassidy, elected to profile a different Internet company altogether rather than agree to Denton’s conditions.

It might seem odd for a business that depends on advertising revenues to pass up the free publicity and cachet a New Yorker profile could confer. But Denton, according to a source familiar with his thinking, worried Gawker was in danger of becoming the face of the “Web 2.0 bubble,” inviting backlash by appearing prominently in practically every trend story about the blogging phenomenon.

Indeed, while the name of their site may suggest an outsider peering in at the party from behind the velvet rope, Gawker’s co-editors, Jessica Coen and Jesse Oxfeld, are increasingly coming to resemble the celebrity editors they love to mock (such as Graydon Carter, whose plaid Oscar-night tuxedo pants earned him much ridicule). In the past two months, Coen and Oxfeld have been mentioned in Vanity Fair (where they appeared together with Denton and several other Gawker Media bloggers), The New York Times, the Daily News, The Village Voice and New York magazine, which photographed them for its “Blog Establishment” cover story, even though, per Denton’s instructions, they declined to be interviewed. Maer Roshan, eat your heart out.
Jeff Bercovici

FAN MORRISON: Those crazy all-night closings at Us Weekly under Bonnie Fuller may be a thing of the past with Janice Min in charge, but new fashion director Sasha Charnin-Morrison still has a steep learning curve ahead. After all, she’s going from the monthly Allure, where she has the same title, to a weekly. But she insists it actually will be an easier lifestyle. “I’m a mom of twin boys,” she said. “I had to think about them.” The position at Us, she said, will involve much less traveling, giving her more time to spend with her three-and-a-half-year-olds.

This story first appeared in the March 14, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The easiest part of leaving? She’s a pop culture and celebrity fanatic. The hardest part of leaving? Saying goodbye to the group of Liz Tilberis-era Harper’s Bazaar editors who came with her to Allure six years ago. “We worked, but we had fun. At the end of the day, it’s a frock. It’s only a bead and a frock.”

One perk Charnin-Morrison isn’t too concerned about walking away from is the Condé Nast cafeteria. “I have a confession to make,” she said. “[Allure creative director] Paul Cavaco and I actually dine at Duke’s down the block.”

She starts at Us on April 4, just in time for the Us Weekly Style Awards.
Sara James

MEA CULPA: The professional relationship between Hedi Slimane and Tom Ford may have ended badly, but for the time being, he’s keeping his opinions of Ford to himself. In the Memo Pad item Monday on The New Yorker’s profile of the Dior Homme designer, criticisms of Ford were incorrectly attributed to Slimane when they actually were made by Pierre Bergé, who said, “I don’t respect him, not at all. He is not a designer. He is a marketing man.”

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