INSIDE OUT: Who says you can’t have it both ways? In selecting Time’s new managing editor, Time Inc. editor in chief John Huey managed to find someone who is both a nominal outsider and a seasoned veteran of the newsweekly. Rick Stengel has at various times served as Time’s national editor, culture editor and senior writer. Since 2004, he has served as president of the National Constitution Center, a think tank.
Jim Kelly, who will graduate from managing editor of Time to corporate managing editor June 15, took his replacement out for a photo-op lunch at Michael’s restaurant (the same place Bob Schieffer met Katie Couric after she was named CBS anchor). There, amid glasses of champagne sent over by a number of well-wishers, Stengel described the token of leadership Kelly had presented him at that morning’s editorial meeting: Time founder Henry Luce’s pencil cup. “It looks like Alfred E. Neuman without a face,” he said. Kelly said he had also bequeathed his successor the flat-screen TV in his office. “Let’s see which one he gets more use out of,” he quipped.
The reaction to Stengel’s hire was largely positive, although some had been expecting that Huey’s outsider pick would be more of a, well, outsider. “He’s an impressive enough guy, but it’s really more of the same,” said one Time Inc. source. But Huey said he came to believe, in the course of vetting candidates, that it would be best to have someone with Time experience. “Ultimately I decided that that was a big plus,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it was absolutely necessary, but it was a big plus.”
— Jeff Bercovici
GOSSIP GIRLS: Could any fictionalized version of the gossip beat possibly be as fraught with conflict and animosity as the real thing? Deborah Schoeneman has been catching flak from a former colleague for trading on her gossip-writing past to promote her new book, “4 Percent Famous.” The novel depicts sleazy rumor chasers at a fictional New York newspaper and hit bookstores just as the Jared Paul Stern scandal was breaking. (Stern, a former freelance writer for the New York Post’s Page Six, allegedly offered to shield a billionaire from negative coverage in exchange for cash payments.) Schoeneman, in TV and in print interviews to discuss the Stern scandal and promote her book, was erroneously billed on several occasions as a “former Page Six reporter.” She actually worked in features at the Post, contributing only occasionally to the gossip column; she has also worked at the New York Observer and New York magazine.
This did not sit well with Page Six writer Paula Froelich, who expressed displeasure in an e-mail exchange with Schoeneman. In her notes, Froelich accused Schoeneman of misrepresenting her ties to Page Six, calling her “pathetic,” “shameless” and a “social climber.” Reached for comment, Froelich referred questions to the paper’s spokesman. Schoeneman, meanwhile, insisted she had tried to correct anyone who had labeled her a former Page Sixer. She said she had forwarded Froelich’s e-mails to Richard Johnson, the column’s editor. “It’s unfortunate that another woman in media has made an enemy of me,” she said. “I feel compassion for her. I think she has a lot of anger and jealousy.”
Not that Schoeneman hasn’t been inviting ire from her former colleagues in gossip. In one interview, she said, “It’s one thing for Harvey Weinstein to give a Page Six reporter a book deal. That assures him some favorable treatment.” Froelich’s book, “It,” was published by Miramax, Weinstein’s former company. But Schoeneman now claims she did not have Froelich in mind when she made that comment — former Page Six writer Ian Spiegelman also wrote a book for Miramax — and did not model any of the characters in “4 Percent Famous” on her.
Schoeneman and Froelich have moved in similar circles for some time, thanks to the incestuous nature of the gossip scene. Hotelier Jeff Klein, who is holding a party in Los Angeles to celebrate “4 Percent Famous,” also threw a party when Froelich’s book came out. Klein denied one source’s claim that Froelich asked him not to host Schoeneman’s party. “She was very mature about it,” Klein said of Froelich. “I asked her if she would have a problem with it and she said, ‘No, not at all.'”
And that publicist to whom Froelich referred WWD’s call? It was Steven Rubenstein, who once dated — who else? — Deborah Schoeneman.
LOTTA NERVE: Nerve.com chief executive officer and publisher Rufus Griscom is evidently pondering parenthood. The Nerve sex site founder and his partners are in talks to create a site for urban parents — make that, for aging hipsters who hooked up on Nerve and decided to procreate. Griscom et al are still in the early planning stages, and thus declined to comment, but the site is likely to compete with Urbanbaby.com.
— Sara James