OLD Media Moves

Conde Nast Portfolio shrewd at playing journalists for coverage

June 14, 2006

Marketwatch media columnist Jon Friedman notes that the vast amounts of coverage being given the new Conde Nast business magazine has been primarily the result of the glossy playing journalists like a violin — my term, not his — by announcing the name, Portfolio, fully nine months before the first issue will hit newstands.

Friedman wrote, “Even hipper-than-thou Gawker did the unthinkable and published a piece on a Sunday. When I asked Gawker Editor Jesse Oxfeld why his online operation felt compelled to do something about it, he quipped by email: “Because it’s the most amazingly earthshatteringly excitingly paradigm-shiftingly buzzily grippingly fabulously compellingly interesting THING to happen to magazines. Ever.”

Jon Friedman“Ultimately, of course, it won’t really matter much what Conde Nast calls the magazine. What will determine its success in a crowded marketplace and during an advertising revenue-challenged period is the quality of the contents.

“I doubt that anyone will ever race over to a newsstand to buy a business magazine because it may have a sexy title. If Conde Nast’s crack staff can create a buzz on day one and keep it going, the magazine will hit pay dirt.

“The Portfolio name, by the way, drew decidedly mixed reviews. Early reports concluded that it was infinitely better than some of the inferior ideas that Conde Nast was kicking around, such as Quote or Currency (Personally, I was rooting for Conde Nast to call it ‘Biz’).

“On the other hand, the naysayers said middle-of-the-road Portfolio struck them as a title so bland and rather uninspiring that it seemed perfectly suited for a mutual-fund trade magazine.”

Read more here.

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