Spiers to Portfolio: Hire Tina Brown

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Would Tina Brown's touch help Conde Nast Portfolio, the most recent big-budget glossy to founder? Elizabeth Spiers thinks so.

Writing on The New Republic's website, Spiers, a former Gawker editor, has once again dropped an extended savaging of the monthly business magazine, whose first two issues, despite being fat with ads and loaded with high-profile bylines, have been panned by most media types. Her knives-out critique of the debut issue held that the new title was amateurish, weighed down with long-winded explanations of business concepts the target reader would already grasp. Her second installment comes amid the furor triggered by the dismissal of apparently popular deputy editor Jim Impoco. Spiers skips the gossip and sticks to the text, where she finds little improvement. She does offer a solution: Hire Tina Brown.

Ms. Brown was responsible for two great magazine transformations in the 1990s, when she resuscitated Vanity Fair and injected some pop culture energy into The New Yorker. But can she do business journalism? That's beside the point, says Spiers. Brown knows how to chronicle power and she knows how to do long-form journalism. And power and several-thousand-word articles is what Portfolio is all about, after all.
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