ROCK THE VOTE: A contest for a seat on the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ board is coming to resemble the Reese Witherspoon-Chris Klein showdown in “Election.” Peter Armour, senior vice president of consumer marketing affairs at Condé Nast Publications (parent of WWD), and David Rock, director of online and partnerships at Ziff Davis, have been campaigning via e-mail in advance of the annual vote, and the veneer of congeniality is starting to chip.
In an Oct. 20 message, Rock wrote, “Many people have asked me: What happens with regard to replacing an active board member? For instance, a Director who is deemed ‘no longer employed by or is no longer actively engaged in the operations of a member company.'” That appears to be a reference to the recent redefinition of Armour’s job at Condé Nast, where he has gone from running the consumer marketing operation to serving as the company’s liaison to ABC and various distribution and retail entities. Rock’s letter concluded with his slogan: “The rules have changed — it’s time for someone new.”
Armour responded the following day, beginning: “My intention was not to bother you anymore regarding the upcoming election….However, since my opponent decided to e-mail you, and since some of the statements made were not entirely correct (I’m sure it was not intentional), there are a few important points I would like to clarify.”
Speaking to WWD, Rock denied that his mention of a director “no longer actively engaged in the operations of his company” was a jab at Armour. His decision to run, he said, had nothing to do with his view of Armour. “I think Peter has done a wonderful job. He’s worked very hard for our industry,” he said. “But the rules state I have to challenge somebody. My options were Peter or John Squires [of Time Inc.]. I chose Peter.”
But Armour certainly seemed to be taking Rock’s challenge personally. “It is very easy to criticize, especially when you haven’t bothered to volunteer for any ABC committee or have been engaged in the ABC process,” he said Thursday, via e-mail.
While several ABC insiders said they believe Armour is likely to win reelection comfortably, Rock disputed that. “I think the big guys are split right down the middle. The middle guys are split right down the middle. And I have massive support from the small companies with one to three titles. I’ve done the math. At this point, it’s absolutely a dead heat.” Bring on the cupcakes!
Or perhaps not just yet. ABC’s annual meeting, originally scheduled to begin next Wednesday in Bal Harbour, Fla., has been postponed owing to damage from Hurricane Wilma. It will be rescheduled for sometime in December.
— Jeff Bercovici
TAKING THE LONG VU: How obsessed are New Yorkers with real estate voyeurism? Enough that New York magazine felt compelled to develop a new 29-page section dedicated to the topic. Called Vu (as in “6 rms riv vu”), the section, which editor in chief Adam Moss refers to as a “magazine within a magazine,” makes its debut in next week’s issue, with stories on André Balazs, Ian Schrager‘s new development, the city’s most expensive rental property and the phenomenon of the open house. “People now see real estate as a badge of identity in the same way they might see designer clothing as a badge of identity,” said Moss.
Vu started as a concept for a new magazine that Richard Pandiscio, Interview’s former creative director, pitched to New York; Pandiscio worked on it as a creative consultant. Moss said the section will reappear at a frequency to be determined — assuming that the real estate crash whose probability New York examined back in May doesn’t wipe out readers’ fondness for property porn.
LADIES’ NIGHT: It was a regular orgy of networking at the Four Seasons on Wednesday evening, as a gross or so of women’s magazine editors took over the Grill Room for an event hosted by Mediabistro.com. And that does mean took over: When chatter from the bar threatened to drown out a panel discussion featuring six editors in chief, Mediabistro founder and moderator Laurel Touby marched over, and, speaking into her microphone, shushed the pinstriped offenders.
Asked about her career path, Shop Etc.’s Mandi Norwood revealed that she originally had harbored an ambition to be an environmental health officer. “Then I visited an abattoir in the northeast of England and realized I absolutely did not want to be an environmental health officer,” she said.
Cosmopolitan’s Kate White got an ovation when she inveighed against the late nights at the office that make life hard for editors who are also mothers. “I personally don’t think it’s necessary,” she said. “It’s not like being a lawyer. You can do the work after [you’ve put the kids] to bed.”
And Us Weekly’s Janice Min was taken aback when asked whether she wished she could go back to putting models on her covers. “I never had models on my covers,” she said.