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Susan Russo likes to keep her hands full. At home she has six computers, three sons and a calendar of dates with the Clearpool Foundation, an educational philanthropic group whose board she sits on.

And then there's her job.

In this case, her new job, as Ms. Russo last week moved from VP-ad sales and strategy for Hearst New Media & Technology to general manager of Rodale Press' new Health Online Service division.

At Hearst, Ms. Russo oversaw development of an ad model for the company's multititle HomeArts Web site ( She now takes skills learned at a company with its own branded Web service to another that recently entered into a content partnership with another Web operator, AT&T Corp.

Ms. Russo will oversee interactive initiatives for Emmaus, Pa.-based Rodale's health-theme magazines (Prevention, Men's Health and Heart & Soul) and at least four books on health topics.

The lion's share of her work will be managing Rodale's new-media initiatives with AT&T. Last fall, AT&T announced plans to roll out a suite of consumer Web services from its Personal Online Services division, starting with a health and lifestyle area to launch later this year.


IVI Publishing (whose titles include Healthnews, sister title to the New England Journal of Medicine) became the first content provider for that service; in February, Rodale became the second via a partnership in which its health content will go exclusively to AT&T.

"It's a new business," Ms. Russo, 43, said of Rodale and its strategies. "It's a co-branding relationship. We'll be selling separately into the [interactive] ad community, and we'll also be marketing to Rodale's magazine and book customers."

Although the magazines in Rodale's Health Online Service are not on the Web or online services now, Rodale titles American Woodworker, Bicycling and Backpacker are on America Online, and Runner's World and Scuba Diving on the World Wide Web.


A veteran of The New York Times, Ms. Russo spent 16 years working on the business side of print in positions including executive director-sales operations; managing director-ad sales; director-strategic and financial planning; and director-marketing.

May 22 marked Ms. Russo's one-year anniversary at Hearst, but in new media, a year's as good as three: Other executives have been moving lately among companies active in new media, such as Steven Wagner, who left Hachette Filipacchi New Media to become the new VP-program development at Hearst.

This activity comes at a time when major print media companies are starting to consider subscription strategies to bolster Web ventures that can't depend entirely on advertising.

Caroline Vanderlip, president of AT&T's Personal Online Services, has said she believes consumers will pay or subscribe to content.


However, pricing, if any, for the health service featuring Rodale content has not been announced.

The trend is in motion, though. Time Warner's Pathfinder site (, in keeping with its long-term business plan, will charge for customized content beginning this summer, while retaining a free "front porch," as will Entrepreneur when it launches its Web site later this summer. The Wall Street Journal site (, launched this past spring, is subscription-only.

Leaving Hearst, Ms. Russo observed that "the integration of advertising into the online environment is still a challenge."


Shortly before she left Hearst, Ms. Russo completed a major integrated marketing deal with Kraft Foods in which HomeArts gained more than 600 branded recipes from Kraft Creative Kitchens. Kraft recipes went into Home-Arts' recipe search database but also are available through a marketing-specific area on the HomeArts site.

As for other lessons learned, "the experiments we conducted at HomeArts on shopping and transactions .... showed us we still hadn't cracked the code" on engaging users and making money.

Asked how she came to believe in the possibilities for new media, Ms. Russo told this story: "One day when my son was ... sitting at the computer. It turned out he was talking to a 9-year-old boy in Leeds, England, and they were discussing a soccer game between the Manchester and Leeds teams.... My son couldn't believe I was so excited. To him, the computer was habitual.

"I've learned the most about how people can use computers for information and entertainment by watching my kids. It needs to become habitual-and I think it can be."



Born: Oct. 23, 1952

Family: Married, three children; lives in Norwalk, CT.

Education: BA in Communication from Southern Illinois University, 1974; Ph.D. candidate in Mass Communication Research, University of Michigan

Career highlights: Began career at Market Opinion Research. Spent 16 years at The New York Times at positions including executive director-sales operations; managing director-advertising sales; director-strategic and financial planning; and director-marketing. From May 1995 to June 1996 was VP-ad sales and strategy for Hearst New Media & Technology.

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