The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, March 01, 2005  

It’s About Time

Katherine Q. Seelye, writing in Monday’s New York Times, in “Softening the Clinking Sounds of Money,” hints, just hints, that the editors and publishers of Money might, just might, be now, just now, starting to realize that women control the pursestrings of the average American household, even if they’re not the primary subscribers to the sorry financial fare offered on the typical newsstand.

Seelye writes:

Money magazine, a warhorse in the Time Inc. stable since 1972, is reinventing itself. With the April issue, the magazine will be transformed from a get-rich investment guide aimed largely at men to a family-friendly helpmate that the editors hope will also appeal to women, younger readers and a broader base of advertisers.

Time Inc., the magazine publishing division of Time Warner, has poured $8.5 million into the reintroduction, with much of that going to an elaborate promotional campaign early next month. As part of that campaign, the April issue will be sent electronically to 1.1 million affluent households that subscribe to other Time Inc. publications with the hope of getting them to subscribe to Money.

Ann S. Moore, chairman and chief executive officer of Time Inc., said that Money had become too narrowly focused. “Money needed to be freshened and redirected,” she said. “It got a little too financial.”

And it had been developing a downscale reputation. In 2002, John Huey, the editorial director of Time Inc., said that before he changed the editors at Money in 1998, the magazine was “down market” and “trailer park.”

No! Really? Downscale? Junk? Worthless? No kidding! Anyone who read Money magazine in the 1990s, or who worked for a competing financial title, or an affiliate of a competing financial title, or who saw the book’s demographics -- and I include myself in all four categories -- knew that, that very thing.

What the hell took you guys -- And I mean that, guys, and I’m talking about the New York Times here as well, Ms. Seelye’s contribution to the debate notwithstanding -- so damned long?

Mr. Huey purportedly saw, or claims now to have seen, serious problems at Money in 1998, seven years ago.

I ask, What sort of compensation did Mr. Huey and the guys “earn” from shareholders in the meantime?

[Post-publication addendum: On women and pursestrings, see also “The Dumbest Column . . . Ever!,” by Jim McLaughlin, at A Skeptical Blog. One guess which New York Times pundit wrote “the dumbest column ever.” No, not Mr. Friedman. No, not Mr. Safire; he’s gone. Look, you only get one chance here. There you go.]

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