Sunday, November 21, 2010

Future of Newhouse Media Empire: Crain's New York Cites "Newhouse" Bio in Looking Ahead for Si Newhouse and Company

Cash cows that don't produce as much cash. Monopoly news that no longer have a monopoly on the news. What's a billion-dollar media empire to do?

In Crain's New York Business, media writer Matthew Flamm asks the tough questions about the future of the Newhouse media empire and even manages to mention the "Newhouse" biography, winner of the Frank Luther Prize Award as best media book of 1995. The paperback is still on sale. It's nice to see it's still relevant in the Newhouse media coverage today.
As Flamm's article says: "... the Advance tradition of doing things its own way—carried on by the patriarch's sons, S.I. “Si” Newhouse Jr., chairman, and Donald Newhouse, president—may be coming to an end. An unprecedented shift in the media landscape has brought Advance to a crossroads, forcing overdue changes at its newspaper and magazine divisions and raising doubts about their future. And with the company's two leaders in their 80s, it can't be too long before the Newhouse family must deal with the complicated issue of succession.
“For the first time in the life of this family-run organization, there are no easy answers, and nothing's a sure bet,” says Thomas Maier, author of the biography Newhouse.

Makes you wanna go out and buy the paperback, right?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tina Brown Takeover at Newsweek Reminds of Her Challenges at Vanity Fair, as Recalled in "Newhouse" bio

The return of Tina Brown to the world of print magazine journalism, taking over the reins of Newsweek, reminds us of her 1980s revival of Vanity Fair as recounted in my biography "Newhouse", voted best media book of 1994 (my, how Time flies!). Tina's exclusive interview for this book recounts the excitement of that era. She was really the only one of the top Newhouse people who actually would agree to be interviewed for that book. I interviewed Tina at breakfast at the Royalton, in the velvet booth where she would hold court in those days. She followed up with some conversation over the phone, and it was a fascinating tutorial on what makes a great editor. But I think today's era of iPad, video and print journalism is far more challenging, even for someone as talented as Tina Brown. Here's Jack Shafer's account in Slate, which I think very accurately sums up Tina Brown's appeal and loyalty in the media world.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Word of the Day Comes from "Dr. Spock: An American Life"; Good Old Ben Would Be Pleased and So Would His Mother

In our never-ending quest to improve the mother tongue, we refer to this recent linguistic excerpt taken from Dr. Spock: An American Life.

Word of the Day, Wednesday, October 27, 2010
\ in-KOH-it \ , adjective;
1. In an initial or early stage; just begun.
2.Imperfectly formed or formulated.

Mildred Spock believed that, at about the age of three, her children's inchoate wills were to be shaped like vines sprouting up a beanpole.
-- Thomas Maier, Dr. Spock: An American Life