Nearly four months ago, New York magazine rocked the Manhattan media world by poaching star op-ed columnist Frank Rich from The New York Times. In an unbylined March 1 post on its website, the city weekly said that Rich would start in July as "an essayist for the magazine, writing monthly on politics and culture, and will serve as an editor-at-large, editing a special monthly section anchored by his essay. He will also be a commentator on nymag.com, engaging in regular dialogues on the news of the week."
Last night I started noticing street posters in downtown Manhattan -- the image shown here I shot with my iPhone near Union Square -- trumpeting "FRANK RICH on the American Scene... DEBUT ISSUE ON SALE JULY 4" under the iconic New York magazine logo. Yep, Frank Rich now has his own outdoor campaign. Good on you, Frank!
I spent years as an editor/writer at New York and nymag.com, somehow getting sufficiently sucked into circulation and editorial-promotion meetings that I ended up personally spec-ing and commissioning such "flypost" campaigns. So I can tell you something about them: They ain't cheap.
When New Yorkers see such posters -- which are about the size of the bedroom-ready ones (e.g., Justin Bieber) sold at Walmart -- slapped up on construction sheds and other seemingly random outdoor spaces throughout Manhattan, they often don't realize that those seemingly ad hoc campaigns are actually carefully controlled by agreements between property owners and flyposting companies, which paste up and take down posters for various clients on tightly managed schedules. (Full disclosure: Though I formally quit my job at New York years ago, I've very occasionally written for the magazine and nymag.com since then on a freelance basis.)
Rich's new gig, of course, sets up a reunion: He's going to work for his old Times colleague Adam Moss, who left the paper to become editor-in-chief of New York magazine in 2004. Back in March, the famously mild-mannered Moss sounded positively giddy about his new hire:
Frank Rich is a giant -- a powerhouse critic of politics and culture, a rigorous thinker, a glorious stylist, a skeptic and optimist at the same time. There is just no one like him in American journalism. He is also a friend. I have had the privilege to work with him for almost 25 years. Since the day I came to New York, I have hoped I could persuade him to join us here. I'm ecstatic that he will now be bringing his wisdom to our growing audience. This is a very big day for New York.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.