Christie Brinkley

Wall Street Journal reporters who cover fashion and style started shuffling desks last week, and it wasn't just because they all wanted to sit together.

JOURNAL’S FASHION ENTRY: Wall Street Journal reporters who cover fashion and style started shuffling desks last week, and it wasn’t just because they all wanted to sit together. The moves were to lay the groundwork for a new fashion and design bureau being formed at the Journal, WWD has learned.

Reporters Teri Agins and Vanessa O’Connell joined Rachel Dodes, Cheryl Tan and Ray Smith on the 10th floor, where they will work under a new bureau head, and current media and marketing deputy bureau chief Lisa Bannon.

The beefed-up coverage won’t become a separate section in the paper, though it will be given its own name and there will be fashion and design articles every day the Journal appears, according to Journal sources.

In response to questioning from WWD, Journal publisher L. Gordon Crovitz issued a statement Monday afternoon, calling female Journal readers “the most affluent and most influential, style-setting women, and we’re delighted now to be able to serve them even better with our expanded coverage.” He added that the Journal readership purchases “more women’s fashion items than do all the readers of the women’s magazines — combined.”

A spokesman for the Journal said the newspaper is not yet ready to discuss whether the bureau will make any new hires.

As could be expected, the ad sales department is also poised for the change, having tapped New Yorker vet Richard Skeen to head its new Consumer Group in December. It took only a month for Skeen to get Vanity Fair and Town and Country alum Jamie Friedman to join him; she will tackle luxury and retail advertising, and has helped recruit more sales execs.

Of course, this is a song the Journal has sung before. Newspaper executives said similar things about expanded fashion and style coverage when the Journal launched its Weekend section and Saturday edition. But the latest effort may help Skeen and team deliver the fashion and luxury goods advertising first promised with those launches. Dow Jones is clearly betting on said advertising to dig the Journal out of its ad sales slump of recent years.
Irin Carmon

This story first appeared in the July 25, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

RUNNING FOR COVER: When W booked Christie Brinkley, 52, for a photo shoot to appear in the magazine’s September issue, the peg was presumably Brinkley’s recent return to active-duty modeling — she began appearing in CoverGirl ads again last fall, as part of the brand’s Advanced Radiance campaign. That the tabloids have since exposed Brinkley’s husband Peter Cook‘s preference for Long Island teenagers has cast the spread, scheduled and shot before the scandal broke, in an entirely different light. A spokeswoman for W, which is a sister publication of WWD, declined to comment on the shoot’s location, theme or whether a story would accompany the photos.

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