OLD Media Moves

Portfolio hopes to succeed despite those who want it to fail

April 9, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

New York magazine writer Mark Fass takes a look at the upcoming debut of Conde Nast Portfolio and examines all of the hurdles that it has had to overcome.

Conde Nast PortfolioFass wrote, “But given the dark cloud over the industry right now, a lot of her competitors are hoping that Lipman will fail—the Schadenfreude Squad, Portfolio deputy editor Amy Stevens, who’s also from the Journal, calls them. Sour journalists rooting for a fall from grace. Between the magazine’s frenzy of big-ticket hiring (75 people, from places like the Times, the Journal, Time, and Vanity Fair) and her reputation as being, as Stevens delicately puts it, ‘exacting,’ there’s a lot of resentment out there. How could Condé Nast do this now? Just who does Lipman think she is?

“In 2004, Condé Nast tested two magazines: an art-and-culture project proposed by then–editorial director James Truman and a lush yet manly business magazine that the suits at the company thought was a good idea. And, according to the company’s chairman, Si Newhouse, the data ‘showed that there was the potential for a magazine that covered business intelligently in a style we were ready to bring to the table.’ Truman’s idea apparently didn’t do as well, and by January 2005, he quit the company. Lipman had lunch with Newhouse in June and was hired by August.

“‘Portfolio’s an important position to take. It’s an important launch,’ says Newhouse, who agreed to be interviewed because, given the negativity of the industry right now, talking about it ‘just seemed like the right thing to do.’ Even the aloof billionaire has to pitch in to sell this thing.

“Portfolio promises to be different enough from its rivals—Fortune, Forbes, Business 2.0, Fast Company—to sell ads when they can’t seem to anymore.”

Read more here.

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