Sunday, December 25, 2005

Jann Wenner Watch: Will Janice Min Be Next To Jump Ship Before She's Pushed Overboard?

Or, Did Timothy O'Brien manage to piss off yet another high-profile mogul?

First, N.Y. Times business reporter Timothy O'Brien got on Donald Trump's shit list for a book that's unflattering at best.
Now, he put Jann Wenner under his formidable microscope in a massive takeout that fronted today's Business section.
The article was fair and thorough, which isn't a good thing for Wenner, who likes to dispose of editors-in-chief of Rolling Stone, Us and Men's Journal when they get too many ideas of their own.
Us major domo Janice Min, despite the runaway success of her title, might be next to get the heave-ho. At Wenner Media, nothing breeds contempt like success, which may have been the undoing of Min's predecessor, Bonnie Fuller.

"I've never heard the charge that I don't know how to handle talent or I'm too jealous of Bonnie Fuller to let her stay around because she won an award," Mr. Wenner said. "That's a new one on me."
Mr. Wenner ... also says he gets along swimmingly with Ms. Min, noting that she won her own editor-of-the-year award - and that it hasn't threatened their relationship.
"The magazine has been more successful than I ever imagined," said Ms. Min, when asked about her relationship with Mr. Wenner. "That has been incredibly gratifying."
Even so, Ms. Min is said by several people familiar with her thinking to bridle privately at what she sees as Mr. Wenner's meddling and bullying. They say, for example, that he forced her against her wishes to run a recent cover featuring the actress Julia Roberts and that the issue sold poorly. Mr. Wenner said he never forced Ms. Min to run the Roberts cover.

The article is a lot more than he said, she said, but the notion that Wenner would ride roughshod on Min, who he's paying a cool $1.2 million a year, when she's helped funnel gushers of cash into his coffers, is troubling to say the least. And O'Brien's not alone in reporting about the fuss at Us.
WWD offers this dispatch:

Sources familiar with the situation say Wenner, who previously allowed Min a high degree of autonomy in running Us, has in the past few months taken to second-guessing her decisions, criticizing her covers, and generally reasserting his authority over her. "He's completely driving her crazy," said one Wenner Media insider. "It's constant."

Yeah, the guy writes the checks, but you'd think he'd have other things to do than fix something that wasn't broken. Vapid, superficial and devoid of substance, yes, but not broken.

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