From our Late to the Party Line desk

As the hardtracking staff noted last fall, Time, Inc. has decided to trade journalism’s traditional Chinese Wall between advertising and editorial for the Berlin Wall – that is, a thing of the past.

From Advertising Age last November:

Understanding Time Inc.’s New Editorial Order

Structure Won’t Undermine Journalism, CEO Joe Ripp Says

Storied magazine publisher Time Inc. surprised its editors on Thursday by assigning them to report to division presidents instead of an editorial executive, leading some to wonder whether business interests would now trump those of edit.

Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp said the restructuring will make the publisher of Time, People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune more innovative and entrepreneurial. “We are not only going to be respecting our traditions enormously, but setting the company to move forward,” Mr. Ripp said.

New Chief Content Officer Norm Pearlstine, who was installed as part of the changes, said Time Inc. is catching up with the media business. “Frankly, it’s more consistent with not only the print industry, but digital and broadcast and the rest of media,” he said.

And more consistent with journalism’s buckraking by any means possible.

And now – lo and behold! – Time, Inc. says it’s all good with the editors of its various publications.

Via the indispensable Jim Romenesko:


Last fall, new Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp told his editors that they’d be reporting to the business side rather than to the editor-in-chief – a move that Ad Age said “sent a ripple of anxiety” through the company’s editorial offices.

Bloomberg TV asked Ripp this morning how editors are dealing with that change. “Frankly, I think they are happier,” he said.

And etc.

They are more excited about it because no longer are we asking ourselves the question are we violating church and state,whatever that was. We are now asking ourselves the question are we violating the trust with our consumers? We’re never going to do that. But within the framework of that, my editors have much more freedom to think about how I can delight my consumers, how I can work with advertisers, how I can think through the problems.

Sounds like a) Stockholm Syndrome, or b) a hostage video.

It also sounds suspiciously like the manifesto of Inside Tucson Business, as chronicled here last month.

Many companies in our industry have wrongly divided their focus among many customer groups. We do not. Our customer is the advertiser. Readers are our customers’ customer.


Just yikes.


John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
John R. Carroll has 305 post(s) on Sneak Adtack