Will New Rupert Murdoch Luxury Mag Dare To Be "Frank"?

Illustration for article titled Will New Rupert Murdoch Luxury Mag Dare To Be Frank?

Rupert Murdoch is launching another ladymag! And we're kind of excited. (As you may know, Rupert's first foray into this market happened last fall with the launch of Page Six Magazine, a weekly that, depending on your point of view, is either depressingly, apocalypse usher-innningly dumbed-down — or about as smart as anything devoted to shopping, restaurants and recreational drug trends of young Manhattan professionals deserves to be.) (My point of view on this changes pretty much every week.) But Rupert's latest venture has the potential to be more our speed: it's Pursuits — or maybe, a magazine not named Pursuits, a glossy to be located within every weekend issue of the Wall Street Journal. And the editor is Tina Gaudoin, a lady who has had a lot of jobs but blah blah I'm going to focus on this magazine she launched my freshman year of college when I was still naive and aspirational and cool-seeking. Frank was a sister publication to The Face, and it was supposed to be a women's magazine like none had ever existed.

"Free from horoscopes, letters and sensationalized sex stories," it promised to instead deliver "frocks, politics, lipstick, handbags, human rights, babies, gardening, stilettos, fridge magnets." Its target age range was 15-40. I bought every issue I could get my hands on at the campus international bookstore/clove cigarette purveyor. But...

No one else did. In one of those cases of tremendous pressure meets limited funding meets entrenched competition, Frank shut down after less than two years.

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Pursuits will be a whole nother story. It's not a women's magazine but a magazine that must appeal to women in order to win over the Sunday advertisers the Journal craves. It won't rely on the "blink" psychology of newsstand sales. It doesn't have to appeal to 15-year-olds or run horoscopes. It doesn't have to be at all "cool." Maybe, with all those advantages, Tina Gaudoin will be able to put together a magazine that is, actually somewhat "frank"?

Funnily enough, a lot of people thought they'd hand the reins to another Frank, as in Robert Frank, the newspaper's chronicler of the uberwealthy and how they live and author of the book Richistan — wisely, they found someone who might be a little less openly contemptuous of the wealth of its most valuable readers. Personally, I could use a weekly magazine edited by Thomas Frank, but no one asked me.

Editor is picked at WSJ Mag [NY Post]

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DISCUSSION

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not.a.clever.name

@PetiteGal: These are all good questions, so I'll try to give them the answers they deserve. I grew up in newspapers and currently work for one, so these are my family's dinner table conversations. Also, I've never worked for a blog or really had one, so I don't really know about the blog business model.

1. Gawker Media is probably the most financially successful blog, but it's based on the model of commenting on what (and I hate this term) mainstream media puts out there. Yes, there are some posts that are just writers going on about something (think Moe's review of "Four Months..."), but a vast majority of items are linked to a news story. Blogs serve an important purpose, though, like in the story about the girl who was harassed in St. Louis (blanking on her name), but there's not much original reporting. And, let's face it, a staff of seven can't do much original reporting (take it from me). I can't really comment on blogzines, because I'm not really familiar with the concept and don't know of any financially successful ones.

2. Print publications do get news from wire services, which they subscribe to, but most of the news in the paper is local reporting, which is an extraordinarily expensive endeavor. Without this local news, your local paper has no reason to exist and people wouldn't read it because they could get the same thing from a national paper like the New York Times or USA Today. They would no longer be uniquely relevant, which is what any product needs to be successful in a marketplace.

3. Papers tend to fold financially unsuccessful efforts into the online aspect, especially if they were popular but unsuccessful, because they help grow online readership. More online readers=more ad revenue.

You say blogzines are wonderful (which I don't argue with) and then you say you spent $500 on it. The point of any newspaper (or any product in a for-profit company) is to make money for its owners, and nothing more. Blogzines may be great, but if they aren't making money, they have no purpose to people like Rupert Murdoch.

Sorry to be long-winded. This is just, like, my life.