The good ole days at Fortune
Former Fortune staffer Joe Nocera writes for Bloomberg View about what is was like to work at the magazine back in the days when it made money.
Nocera writes, “The great Fortune writer Carol Loomis used to recall how the male writers would always travel with their female research assistants, who would take notes during interviews, transcribe them and do the heavy lifting while the writer was out on the town. Dan Okrent, a former editor of Life magazine, had a raft of memorable expense-account stories he told and retold. John Podhoretz, who worked at Time magazine three decades ago, once wrote a piece recalling the time Henry Grunwald, Time’s editor, took a helicopter from Manhattan to White Plains, 25 miles away. There were carts serving drinks in the late afternoon, dinners at the most expensive restaurants in New York and limousines to take editors home at night.
“Which is not to say that the journalists of my era were suffering, at least not during the first five years I was there. The period from 1995 to 2000 (I left in 2004) was print advertising’s last hurrah. The first internet boom was roaring and the money just poured in. At Fortune, where I worked, the managing editor, John Huey, would sometimes begin the morning meeting by saying that we had just gotten 15 more pages of advertising and did anyone have any ideas about how to add some more stories?
“At its peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Fortune was making, pre-tax, upwards of $110 million — we even spent $5 million one year taking the entire staff to Hawaii. Time magazine made in the $100 million range, People made over $400 million, and Time Inc. had earnings that came in a hair under $1 billion. The idea that it would all come to an end one day was unimaginable.”
Read more here. Fortune is being sold to Meredith Corp., along with Money magazine.