"Let's have lunch one of these days," said Bill Kupper, president of the McGraw-Hill powerhouse Business Week. "I want you to meet our new editor, Steve Adler." Adler recently succeeded Steve Shepard, who became founding dean of the new journalism school of CUNY. I expected some worthy BW lifer promoted into the top job, but no. What Kupper came up with was a star, the No. 2 guy at The Wall Street Journal, the editor whose investigative team won three Pulitzers in seven years and a newsman of near-impeccable bloodlines. The three of us lunched at the Sea Grill in Rock Center. Stephen J. Adler turns out to be a lean, lanky 50-year-old with a casually trimmed beard who worked as a reporter on various Florida papers, then went to Harvard Law (his college was also Harvard), returned to the newspaper biz, did the last 17 years at the Journal, is married to writer Lisa Grunwald (daughter of Time's Henry), with whom he writes books when he isn't scribbling his own (on the law). Kupper wants Adler to get his editors "to think online as well as print. We have to move into the electronic content field. Forbes is ahead of us online but we're up 40% a year the last three years in online growth and we're catching up." Steve helped accomplish a similar task at the WSJ and says, "blogs are still growing and fast. `Citizen journalism' is what blogs are all about. And if we have a hot magazine story that isn't going to hold, we put it right online."
He's high on tech editor Stephen H. Wildstrom, who writes the Technology & You column in the mag, another version online, and appears on their Sunday TV half-hour show syndicated to 188 stations. How's business? I inquired politely. "Through April, ad sales were slow," said Bill (down 11% through March). "We're going into the second half on an uptick. The whole business category has been soft. Detroit is down, the male categories are soft. The female categories are very strong, and I don't have a female-category magazine. But demand for [BW] is at an all-time high, 970,000 circulation every week, 1.2 million around the world."
Forbes and Fortune are somewhat smaller and bi-weekly. But what's with Adler's beard? "I first grew it when I lost a girlfriend years ago, and when I realized it made me look older, I kept it." Kupper swears he didn't even notice it until their fourth or fifth job interview. "My wife and I have another book coming out this fall," but with a look at tough boss Kupper, Steve says, "For the next year or so, I'll be concentrating on my new job."
As a constant reader of Harp, "the rock & roll music mag for adults," I'm packing for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival June 10-12 in Manchester, Tenn.
Fox News anchor Neal Cavuto's book, "More Than Money," a Times best-seller, now out in paperback from Regan books. Neal's a dandy.
MPA's annual summer media bash June 13 at One Time Warner Center, this year's event hosted by Life. Free drinks.
Cutting edge stuff from a conservative imprint, World Ahead Publishing: an expose of Bill Clinton's womanizing.