When primedia executives went looking for a person to oversee its more than 100 magazine Web sites, they found David Cohen, a veteran of the publishing world with extensive new-media experience.
Mr. Cohen, 52, will be leaving Meredith Corp. after 23 years in a variety of posts, including publisher of Golf for Women, to become VP-new media for the Primedia magazine group. He was most recently director of new media for Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal and Family Money.
Until now, Primedia has not had central distribution or management for its Web sites, which include online magazines American Baby, Chicago Magazine and Modern Bride. Mr. Cohen hopes to assemble a central resource from which the sites can share assets, such as technology and software.
For instance, the three Meredith online magazine sites Mr. Cohen oversaw use similar technologies in each one's distinctly different-looking food sections. He also plans to group Web sites in categories, such as automobiles, sites for women or for hobbyists.
"We're going to try not to reinvent the wheel every time we put up another Web site," he said. "And we'll bring them together slowly and try not to disrupt people."
Another priority for Mr. Cohen will be differentiating the online products from print versions.
"The idea is to take the phenomenal editorial experience [Primedia has] in different areas and bring it to the Web," he said. "Rather than duplicating content [from print] I hope to enhance the brand online."
DEMAND FOR NEW-MEDIA TALENT
Before Mr. Cohen joined Meredith, he worked at McGraw- Hill Medical Books as a medical and scientific writer; at Business Week as chief copy writer for the marketing department; and at Crain Communications Inc.'s Business Insurance and Pensions & Investments as marketing director.
Mr. Cohen reflected on the demand for experience in new media: "In 21 years of traditional print, working at jobs up to the publisher level, I got fewer calls for jobs than in the 21/2 years as director of new media. I was probably getting four or five per week."
Copyright July 1998, Crain Communications Inc.