START SPREADING THE NEWS: The British takeover of New York media is by now a fairly timeworn tale, but The Independent of London still found it fresh enough to ring in the New Year with a list of “The Big Apple’s Big Brits” in American print media or advertising.
“To achieve success in London is one thing — but in New York it’s quite another,” read the headline for the article, written by freelancer Richard Gillis.
The list nodded to obvious choices Tina Brown and her husband, Harry Evans, and Anna Wintour, but while it rather bizarrely included Sarah Ivens, editor of tabloid also-ran (at least in the U.S.) OK, it passed over Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief and Derbyshire native Glenda Bailey.
Fellow Hearst Tower occupant Joanna Coles of Marie Claire made the list, but was erroneously described as having “worked her way up the Hearst Corporation,” at New York and More, neither of which are published by Hearst.
Asked why Bailey had been snubbed, The Independent said the omission was due to space, adding the paper couldn’t feature “all the Brits who were doing well in New York.”
Bailey was traveling Tuesday, but a spokeswoman for Harper’s Bazaar offered one analysis: “The British newspapers are notoriously competitive. Perhaps the editors of The Independent read The Telegraph’s recent glowing profile of Glenda and Harper’s Bazaar’s turnaround and are still smarting that they didn’t get the scoop.”
— Irin Carmon
FAIR TREATMENT: As reported by WWD in November, Vanity Fair will delve into the business and personal dealings of socialite-turned-fashion designer Tory Burch in its February issue, on newsstands today. In addition to a scrapbook of family photos across the 12-page piece, author Michael Shnayerson spends a good portion of the upbeat article on Burch’s family in Pennsylvania, the rapid growth of her fashion line, and her turbulent marriage to her now-estranged husband, Chris. Details of the rocky union include their financial windfall from flipping their investment in an Internet start-up, Chris’ penchant for oversharing (“He just talks and talks,” said one social observer, Shnayerson wrote) and mounting tension between the two as her clothing line grew.
Burch comes off cool as a cucumber in the interview, even when speaking of her husband. She said of their different approaches to business: “He’s always done things differently than I do at the company….I’m very calm and Chris is not. He’s very creative, he can be all over the place, and I’m very focused.”
But the hire of fashion executive Brigitte Kleine as president-mediator of the business was, as one source said in the piece, an example of how bad things got. “At the office, the environment was unbearable … Chris runs the business through Brigitte so he never has to talk to Tory,”‘ Shnayerson wrote. Though Chris Burch declined to participate in the piece, his brother, Robert, defended Chris’ contributions to the clothing line’s success. “My brother’s the one who put up the money for the business and he’s the one that built the organization,” he said.
Only after wading through to the last graphs of the piece will readers find details of Tory’s current flames. While rumors of a romance between Tory and Revlon head Ron Perelman surfaced in the fall, she called a dinner with the billionaire “merely social.” Tory is dating movie producer Matt Palmieri, son of real estate financier Victor Palmieri, but insists in the piece the two are “not serious.”
— Stephanie D. Smith
THE HONEYMOON IS OVER: While thousands of commuters received a free and redesigned Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, the union representing the paper’s reporters and copy editors seemingly ended the honeymoon before it began by placing a terse ad in the front section of The New York Times, titled “The Size of the Paper Isn’t the Only Thing Shrinking at The Wall Street Journal.” The $115,000 ad was paid for by the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees and the Newspaper Guild Communications Workers of America. In referencing the paper’s shrinking size, the ad notes that “unfortunately, if the newspaper’s owner, Dow Jones & Co., has its way, the quality of the paper is also in danger of shrinking.”
Steve Yount, president of the IAPE, said the union — which represents approximately 2,000 Dow Jones employees — ran the ad in the Times to get the attention of the top brass. “They don’t like to see embarrassing ads in other media outlets,” he said. Yount claimed the bottom line seems to be so important to management that it has begun to cut benefits. One issue he pointed to was a proposal to increase employee health care costs by 400 percent. He’s also concerned that some editorial content in the redesigned paper will come from outside the Journal’s newsroom.
In a statement, Dow Jones said the IAPE simply has its facts wrong. “In the eyes of our readers and advertisers, the quality of Dow Jones products is rising, not falling.” The company also stated that paid subscriptions and readership, ad sales and market share are on the rise. “Both defy print industry trends and couldn’t be possible if we were not improving quality.” The statement added the redesign was produced from the collective work of hundreds of people across Dow Jones, many of whom are union members. “It is simply unfair of IAPE to doubt their commitment to readers and customers and to the quality of the products they create.”
— Amy Wicks
DIRTY PROMOTIONS: How will new FX drama “Dirt,” featuring Courteney Cox as the ruthless, Bonnie Fuller-esque editor of celebrity tabloids Dirt and Now, develop a loyal following? By targeting the audiences of the very news outlets it imitates. FX bought ad space in nearly all the celebrity weeklies to promote the show, including Star, National Enquirer, Us Weekly, People, In Touch and OK, as well as TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. FX also took out ads on the most popular — and arguably, snarky — celebrity news Web sites, including PerezHilton, Gawker, Pinkisthenewblog, Dlisted and Popsugar. “We went after people who had a strong interest in celebrity and celeb news and do so in tabloid and online. We went out to a lot of sites that focus on celebrity and things that celebrities were doing on a day-to-day basis,” explained Stephanie Gibbons, FX’s executive vice president, marketing and promotions on air. Ads were also placed on pagesix.com, and appeared directly across from a Monday Page Six item about the show’s similarities to Fuller and Star. FX said it had no prior knowledge of the item when it bought ad space and, indeed, also placed a full-page ad Tuesday opposite Page Six. “I requested that I be across from Page Six, but what will be in the column I have no control over it,” said Gibbons. FX also bought ads in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Women’s Entertainment (WE), the Oxygen network, “The Late Show With David Letterman,” Out and The Advocate (three of Dirt’s characters are gay or bisexual.)