WAR OF WORDS: In its Aug. 30 issue, The New Yorker ran a piece by investigative reporter Jane Mayer that detailed the political funding habits of Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who own the second-largest private company in the U.S., Koch Industries. The article, which asserted the brothers have helped bankroll portions of the Tea Party movement (a claim they deny), picked up plenty of buzz and earned Mayer interviews on “The Rachel Maddow Show” and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” It also caused umbrage at the offices of New York magazine, which had run its own profile of David Koch on July 25. Mayer’s piece borrowed a few quotes from the earlier article (Koch granted New York contributing editor Andrew Goldman access, but barred Mayer), and referred to the New York piece as “admiring.”
Them are fightin’ words among journalists. A day after The New Yorker’s story hit newsstands, New York deputy editor Jon Gluck sent an e-mail (on which he cc’ed New York editor in chief Adam Moss) to New Yorker editor David Remnick that called Mayer’s article “compelling,” but also took issue with her treatment of his writer’s piece. “Goldman’s story, like Mayer’s, documented the unvarnished truth about the Kochs’ political activity, and made plain the connection to the tea-partiers that Koch is denying,” Gluck wrote. “Although there is nothing wrong with a positive story, this was not one. Mayer’s characterization of Goldman’s work is false, at best.”
A New York spokeswoman, who provided the letter to WWD upon request, said Friday the magazine had not heard back. A New Yorker spokeswoman said the magazine had no comment.
— Matthew Lynch
CHASING THOSE FASHION ADS: With the fashion sector showing some bubbles of activity in terms of ad-page dollars, it was only a matter of time before magazines began trying to tap into the well. The September and October issues of Real Simple mark a greater emphasis on the category, with three fashion franchises being introduced by new fashion director Victoria Sanchez-Lincoln. In the current issue, Real Simple is running a 10-page fashion feature, “Portrait of a Lady,” shot by Melvin Sokolsky, with clothing and accessories from Calvin Klein, Ports 1969, CH by Carolina Herrera and Anthropologie. And, while publisher Kevin White readily admits it could be a while before fashion brands embrace the magazine’s commitment to fashion, he closed the September issue with ads from Calvin Klein, American Living, Talbots, Eileen Fisher and Laura Ashley, among others. The issue had 141 ad pages, up about 6 percent versus last year.
— Amy Wicks
THREE’S A CROWD: Fledgling rival French glossies, Envy and Be, owned by Marie Claire Group and Lagardère Active, respectively, are to merge under the Be banner in a bid to clarify their positioning on the highly competitive women’s magazine market. Be’s editor in chief, Anne Bianchi, will retain her title. The weekly magazines launched in the spring on the heels of Mondadori’s launch of Grazia in France — and all chasing a similar target. A spokeswoman for Lagardère Active said Envy, which is more celebrity oriented, has struggled to compete with the slew of similar titles that have flooded the market. Twenty celebrity titles are said to have launched in France over the past 12 months. According to reports, both Envy and Be failed to generate substantial ad revenues. Lagardère Active and Marie Claire Group plan to form a publishing company geared to “new generational” women’s weeklies that will house the new edition of Be, due to be launched in October, as well as Lagardère Active’s celebrity weekly, Public. The company will be held 80 percent by Lagardère Active and 20 percent by Marie Claire Group. Bruno Lesouëf, chief executive officer of Press Magazines France of Lagardère Active, will helm the company. Be’s price and circulation are still to be determined.
— Katya Foreman