Media Moves

Unfair to judge Portfolio on first issue

April 18, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Michael Thomas of The New York Observer writes Wednesday that it’s not exactly fair to be judging and critiquing the new business magazine Conde Nast Portfolio after one issue.

Thomas wrote, “Well, I’m disappointed. But let me hedge that statement forthwith by Conde Nast Portfoliodeclaring that given who’s putting this magazine out, given the circumstances of its conception and creation and, above all, given the demographic at which it is palpably and unapologetically aimed, I don’t see how it could have been otherwise. I also think it’s not entirely fair to review a new publication right out of the gate, before it has found its footing. The fairest course might be to come back after four or five issues. We’ll have a better idea, in half a year’s time, of whether Portfolio is worth the time and money—the Newhouses’ and ours.

“This first number turns out to be exactly what I’d feared and predicted: expensive and vapid, glossy, superficial, stale and, above all, safe. With the exception of an article on Hollywood financier Ryan Kavanaugh, nothing I read engaged me—and I doubt it would engage anyone with any knowledge of finance, Wall Street, economics and so on beyond the level of idle dinner-party chitchat.

“Tom Wolfe’s 7,000-word piece on hedge funds reads like a Peter Arno cartoon—you know, the geezer stamping a petulant foot at these newfangled ways while calling for the club steward to bring him another sherry.”

He ends with, “I used to subscribe to all the business journals. As I grew old and tired and (most relevant) poor, I let them expire, keeping only The Economist and Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, the most elegantly written of all. I wish Portfolio well, but I think I’ll limit my engagement with it to time spent in my dentist’s waiting room.”

Read more here.

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