OVER TO WIRED: Another early hire is leaving Portfolio — senior writer Daniel Roth. But at least he’s staying within Condé Nast: Roth will join Wired in the same position. Staffers found out about his departure late Wednesday afternoon in a brief e-mail circulated to the staff by managing editor Blaise Zerega. Roth will start his new position around Christmas.
Roth was poached by Portfolio editor in chief Joanne Lipman from Fortune, where he had worked since 1998 alongside Katrina Brooker, who was also recruited by Lipman to join Portfolio during its launch. Brooker quit to return to Fortune in September, but Roth stayed, despite conversations with Time Inc. editor in chief John Huey and Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer about his return to Time Inc. Roth was said to have a good working relationship with Lipman, but sources close to the magazine say Portfolio’s tumultuous working environment — with its constant media scrutiny and frequent staff departures that have led to a steady increase in the number of staffers from Lipman’s old stomping grounds at The Wall Street Journal became too much for Roth. Since the summer, editors and writers from the magazine who have severed ties include Brooker, deputy editor Jim Impoco, ex-New York Times writer Kurt Eichenwald and ex-Men’s Journal editor in chief Michael Caruso, who served as contributing editor at large under a yearlong contract. In return, ex-Journal staffers Hilary Stout, Scot Paltrow, Daniel Golden and Peter Waldman have joined the masthead.
— Stephanie D. Smith
CUTBACKS: Not all The New York Times staffers will settle into their shiny new offices in Times Square in 2008 — a memo circulated to the staff from executive editor Bill Keller details the paper will be revealing layoffs next year, primarily in support and administrative positions. About a dozen people will be affected by the cuts. “Despite growing pressure on the newsroom budget, the Times has continued to turn out great journalism, whether it’s covering Iraq, New York City or the most crowded Presidential campaign in memory. We’ve been able to do this, in part, because each of you has helped us save money by finding new and more efficient ways to do what we need to do,” Keller wrote. “That is why I must tell you that there are going to be layoffs in the newsroom, for the first time in recent memory. The people who are affected are not journalists, but that does not make this news any easier to share.” The company also said that it put into place a hiring freeze several weeks ago.
SAFE DOES SELL: Let other magazines cover the recent dramas surrounding Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. People StyleWatch publisher Michelle Myers claims it’s benefiting by being the “safe” celebrity title as brands like Cover Girl sign on. In 2008, the Time Inc. magazine will continue on at 10 times a year, but a rate base increase will begin in February, growing by 100,000 copies to 650,000. The December-January issue closed at 52 ad pages, up slightly over last year, and StyleWatch is selling an average of 532,000 copies at the newsstand, said Myers. “Fashion, beauty and retail is our core, but we are also working on consumer electronics and technology, such as LG, which was new in December,” she said.
— Amy Wicks
GABFEST: Has Simon Doonan found yet another calling? The Barneys New York creative director, whose literary accomplishments include “Confessions of a Window Dresser,” “Wacky Chicks,” “Nasty” and a column in The New York Observer, can add the title of talk show host to his résumé. A five-minute, 28-second video that can be seen on the retailer’s Web site and YouTube features Doonan hosting “Have a Green Holiday,” which looks like it was filmed in someone’s basement. “This week’s guest is Al Gore,” said Doonan. Actually, it’s Barneys’ fashion director Julie Gilhart, who reveals after a little prying from Doonan that her ideal green husband is Prince Charles. Between the witty banter, there’s plenty of time to discuss merchandise — isn’t that really why we’re here, folks? — such as a long white Loomstate cardigan that would be equally at home with jeans and Balenciaga. A short white dress from Phillip Lim’s 100 percent certified organic cotton collection, Go Green Go, could be worn to a disco or environmental conference, Doonan says. The retailer’s green Christmas extends to store windows, advertising and holiday catalogues, with Rudolph the Recycled Reindeer and Frosty the Fair Trade Snowman as mascots. Doonan, who has a slew of bons mots up his environmental sleeve, declares at the end of the show, “Green is the new black,” and “Don’t panic, it’s organic.”
— Sharon Edelson