Simon & Schuster EIC & Vibe’s Senior Editor in the Same Funny Day

August 3rd, 2003 by Larry Smith

I contend that in the history of magazine prototypes, no one’s gone from meeting a middle-aged Jewish guy running a major publishing company to jumping in a cab and running to a 28-year-old-half-Korean-half-black-all-hipster editor at Vibe in the same afternoon.First met with David Rosenthal, editor of S&S and generally a big deal in publishing/magazines. A real nut, pal of Hunter S, etc. – met him once before at a party and we were both buzzing. Good pal of agent provocateur and my pal Lydia Wills.

My old friend Scotty Mil’s sister works for Rosenthal now and she hooked me up with a meeting to show him the prototype. He was generous with his time, gave me that “good idea, good kid, but you’re trying to do the impossible vibe, though if you launch I’d love to read it.” He felt the design was a bit too busy (cold, even) and that at some point you have to let readers read.

What else. said drop the “we’re a post-modern People” analogy (too old, too different), this magazine is more like:

The Atlantic for Fun People
Us Weekly for Smart People

We talked about how Atlantic and US had the big newsstand gains lately, so this positioning makes sense.

He reminded me to talk to John Skipper, early Rolling Stone guy and now like EIC of all ESPN brands, and I guy I met a few times. No reason not to talk to him. And he also said Jann Wenner not a terrible idea – he likes to invest in hot ideas. I think the ReadyMade crew talked to him at one point.
Then I went to see an editor at Vibe, mainly to get some work, but also to get the kid’s take on Smith (she’s in her twenties and we need more feedback from people younger than the largely thirtysomething team we have). She listened to me ramble. I finally shut up andsaid what do you think, and she said: “It’s dope.”

With that, I called it a day, called Tim on the way home, and got a nice big Fuller’’s ESB at DBA.

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