This was the week after New Orleans sank and Editor Klara Glowczewska of Conde Nast Traveler told me, "We're talking about it daily. ... It's too early to say how long reconstruction will take. But it would be shocking if New Orleans weren't reconstructed (as House Speaker Dennis Hastert suggested). It is one of the great convention cities and ranks No. 7 of America's favorite cities. New Orleans has to be rebuilt, and it will be rebuilt." Over lunch Klara and Publisher Lisa Henriques Hughes talked about travel and magazines. "This will be a record profit year for the hotel industry, for the cruise industry and for Conde Nast Traveler," said Lisa. But I pointed out that morning's New York Times was crying doom and gloom about the airlines. Said Lisa, "Airlines have their own set of problems, including pensions and on top of that, the price of fuel. But travel isn't their problem." Conde Nast Traveler, circ 750,000, is off 5% YTD on ad pages, but September is stronger, up 2%, and for the year, they're closing the gap. "And we have the best demographics in the business. We always wanted to reach the most important travelers and we do." Not bad for a magazine that, as Klara reminds me, "was launched by Harry Evans in September 1987 to be followed one month later by the '87 crash." She was promoted to editor succeeding Tom Wallace this past January and admits most people still can't spell her name. But her magazine has those National Magazine Awards, including three for general excellence, and former Conde editorial director James Truman writing for them. The September issue, with Ashley Judd and a leopard on the cover, lists the 50 best "travel films" ever, in the opinion of the readers (17,000 buffs wrote in). Top five, "A River Runs Through It," "Il Postino," "Out of Africa," "Summertime" and "Sideways." I was rooting for "Casablanca" but Klara gently informed me that was shot in Utah. Lisa and her two sons were just back from vacation. And which glamorous destination did they choose? "It's just north of Poughkeepsie and the boys' blond hair is now green from pool chlorine." But when I told Lisa I would be off to Paris shortly, she pushed Las Vegas, which had a huge pullout guide in the September issue. "Don't think Paris; think Vegas!" Said Klara, "She said that. Not me!"
Whenever I've spoken with Rodale execs recently, they assured me Organic Style was doing splendidly. I realized it was Maria Rodale's baby and she's the boss. But now that Steve Murphy's pulled the plug, you wonder if anyone was speaking up within the company about its problems.
Publisher Pete Spina says Sporting News ad pages "are tracking over 50% higher than September '04." Two reasons: Their NFL and Nascar Chase Preview issues this month.
Those new Popular Mechanics "Breakthrough" Awards I reported on will be ladled out Sept. 29 at the American Museum of Natural History.
Also Hearst, Cosmo's "40th blowout birthday bash" is Sept. 22 at Skylight in lower Manhattan. Editor Kate White, Donna Kalajian Lagani and boss Cathie Black host. Helen Gurley Brown may emerge from a cake.