Friday, July 28, 2006

Shades of Portfolio

Every week, it seems that the forthcoming Portfolio Magazine – the new business magazine from Conde Nast – recruits another blue-chip business journalist. The masthead, which already boasts some of the best of the best from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Wired Magazine, Time and a host of others, is shaping up to be a behemoth, talent-wise. If this were a fantasy baseball team, they’ve had a real good draft in cherry-picking great players— and they're not done yet.

But it finally hit me what the pre-launch hoopla reminded me of: The launch of (the now-defunct) back in May 2000. It came when I somehow landed on an old Online Journalism Review
article that started with this: “In May 2000, the debut of attracted the sort of media attention generally reserved for Hollywood blockbusters.” Sound familiar?

Just look at the names and talent that littered the
masthead there at the beginning of its 18-month run, and where they are now. At the New York Times, they’ve scooped up David Carr, Lorne Manly and Peter Edmontson. Sara Nelson is now editor-in-chief of Publisher’s Weekly, Craig Marks is editor-in-chief of Blender and Kim Masters is ubiquitous on NPR. Hell, even CNBC's “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer was on the masthead originally. And should I even mention freelancer extraordinaire Greg Lindsay?

Of course, the argument could easily be made that the majority of success – or the ascension higher on a masthead – came afterwards. But a great deal of the names here have already had success, of course, and are/were well-known in journalism circles. But, for those rock stars currently on the yet-to-be-created masthead, this is ultimately a good line for their resume.

I don’t believe Portfolio will share the same fate by any means, by the way— they’re too well-funded for that and they’re going to get a good entrypoint based on the American City Business Journals subscriber lists. Hell, I'm looking forward to reading the magazine once it hits.

But the early headlines make it extremely hard to live up to.


Anonymous said...

their only idea is "business based long form journalism." on the face of it, it's what CN does well so it should be a good read. Qeustion is, who wants that? Can't believe their rsrch shows anyone under 45 wanting this. so how're they gonna make this work: fashion? gag me. kulcha? here's my prediction: we're gonna see a big party start, then lipman is gonna get fired 2 years out.

Anonymous said...

The current crop of titles is soooo boring...fanzines about Jack Welch, Jeff Immelt, Warren Buffett. Been there, done that. Give me just one good story in an issue -- just one (the others hardly ever do). I welcome anything different in this space.

Anonymous said...

friends in the media business say that Fortune is planning a splashy re-design -- going up-market, RollingStone sized, as if to say "we're not just for ole' geezers". Should be interesting

Chris said...

My response to this Rolling Stone-like Fortune rumor (which I can't believe to be true): Ew.

Although I agree with Anon. #2-- there isn't enough knock-me-out stories in the business magazines these days.