|Photo: Doug Goodman|
|Gerald Levin spoke of the 'profound moral basis' of magazine publishing.
His remarks, like so many at the conference, leaned heavy on the events of Sept. 11 and did not stint on ominous imagery: "It's a new and dangerous phase of this country's history," he said, a "dark atmosphere."
'Faces of young widows'
Growing visibly emotional and with tears welling up in red-rimmed eyes, he said that "when you see the faces of young widows and young children" who lost loved ones in the attacks, "it tears your heart out." (Mr. Levin's own son, Jonathan, was murdered in a 1997 robbery.)
While he noted the attacks "made a bad business environment worse," his talk dealt more with media's role in the world.
'Whatever it takes'
In words that should come as a relief to his staffers at Time Inc., a unit that has seen deep cutbacks and substantial buyouts this year, he all but offered a blank check. "We will not retreat," he aid. "Whatever it takes, whatever they need to reach their audience, to help [readers] make up their own minds."
"This is who we are. This is what we do. No terrorist act or threat will stop us."
Mr. Levin's comments were termed "somewhat disingenuous" by a former Time Inc.-er, who did not doubt Mr. Levin's promise of resources now but pointed out "they cut the editorial budget substantially in the past year."
As for AOL Time Warner's commitment to the medium and concerns over investment capital drying up for magazines, he pointed out that in the multimedia giant's first full year of existence, it has spent "well over $2 billion" on acquiring magazines -- by far the biggest investment it has made in any area.