Thursday, July 31, 2008

Conde Nast Portfolio Profiles "Last Media Tycoon" about the Washington Post

There may be a real market for taking a Vanity Fair magazine approach to journalism and applying it to business journalism.

If that sounds interesting to you, check out the current Conde Nast Portfolio, which includes two such articles. The first is "The Last Media Tycoon: Katharine Weymouth tells Condé Nast Portfolio how she plans to save the family's flagship brand and—she hopes—reinvent the industry,"which provides an profile of Weymouth and the challenges she faces.

There's an interesting chart from the article that highlights one particular challenge.

Weymouth seems to understand the industry's issues that have been discussed many times on this blog. Not sure about her solutions, but showing the influence of sister publication, Vanity Fair, the article also includes a number of photos of the attractive Weymouth in different outfits and a two-page spread of Weymouth with her attractive children.

I don't believe we'd see a similar spread of photos of a male executive in different, flattering attire or a photo of him with his kids.

The article still was interesting, but the photos were unnecessary. (I kept expecting that the captions would include fashion notes about the designers.) This is more about Conde Nast Portfolio than about Weymouth.

The other Vanity Fair-meets-business article was "Cold Case: Tom Carvel's ice cream empire churned up a substantial estate and a bitter, Dickensian fight over his money. Now a lawsuit asks, was he murdered?" It contains lots of smoking guns, claims of betrayals and fraud, but hard to figure out why it ran now -- when many of the elements have been going on for quite some time. Perhaps if Carvel had been more attractive (he wasn't), the article would have fit in better in the pages of Vanity Fair. The article was interesting, but it wasn't much of a business article.

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