This morning, a warning went out to all of Conde Nast’s New York employees that an employee on the 12th floor of the company’s 4 Times Square headquarters had tested positive for swine flu. (If you’re hip to Conde HQ you know that floor is where Vogue is housed.)
But since the memo noted that the infected employee is “under a doctor’s care and currently recovering at home,” the media company was probably more worried this morning about the latest New York magazine cover story, which profiled Conde chairman Si Newhouse.
Steve Fishman’s in-depth profile attempts to get to the heart of Newhouse’s psyche, quoting an anonymous source who calls him “semi-blank,” and asserting that he surrounds himself with superstar editors who represent a part of himself that he can’t express on his own. “In a sense, he’s like a polished surface, and the editors tend to see themselves in him,” Fishman wrote.
And of course Fishman can’t ignore the fact that Conde Nast is in the red despite closing a number of magazines in the past two years, including, most recently, Portfolio. Still, he points out that “The belief around the building is that next year, if the economy recovers, Conde Nast will again turn profitable.” Fishman doesn’t let on if he agrees, but he does mention that there are still rumors of more magazine closings to come. “Which will be next? Wired? Architectural Digest? Does the company really need two food magazines?”
As a former Conde employee ourselves, we did find at least one omission in Fishman’s reporting. His list of shuttered publications — Jane, House & Garden, Men’s Vogue, Golf for Women, Domino and Portfolio — he left out our former home, the men’s wear trade DNR.