A Farewell From the Publisher (and Former Junior Reporter)

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Shortly after I joined Ad Age full time as a general-assignment media reporter, a Brooklyn kid just out of St. John's, Patrick Reilly left for The Wall Street Journal, and I set out to win the magazine beat he had covered.

Ad Age editorial was then under the great Fred Danzig, and the New York bureau was led by the ferociously competitive John Wolfe. They thought I was too junior to be handed such a prestigious beat, but while they searched I persuaded them to let me cover it and snared some decent scoops. Eventually they spotted potential, or at least a bargain, and offered me the beat at $25,000, a stunning leap over the $18,000 they had brought me in at.

For four years, I learned the business from the likes of Peter Diamandis, Reg Brack and John Mack Carter. I was already a media junkie, and the experience convinced me I wanted to spend my career in and around the business, particularly magazines. In the fall of '93, I helped launch, and later edited, Ad Age's Interactive section, and when then-Publisher Ed Erhardt put Ad Age on Prodigy and eWorld, I oversaw the content side.

Barry Golson and Anthea Disney lured me to TV Guide Online in '95, and in early '96 Gloria Scoby and Ed persuaded me to return under David Klein as executive editor. We revitalized Ad Age, and when David moved up, so did I.

Eventually I made the best cold hire of my career, persuading Jonah Bloom to come over as executive editor. We set out to put distance between Ad Age and everyone else, succeeded and had a hell of a lot of fun along the way. We gave Ad Age a voice and a point of view on the changes sweeping through the marketing and media industries, and the audience gave it credibility. When I was offered the chance to move to the business side to adapt our business model to the changing landscape, I jumped at it, and have worked in partnership with Allison Arden and the team here to develop all aspects of our brand across print, online, video, events and global licensing. Somewhere along the way, I wrote a column that at least a few people read, and a book, "Madison & Vine," on the convergence of entertainment and advertising.

Those who know how much I love Ad Age know how much it would take to get me out of here. An opportunity has come along that feels like the intersection of everything I'm passionate about, which is why I'm moving to Time Inc. as publisher of Entertainment Weekly. I'd say more about it, but our astute copy desk would edit it out anyway.

The business has changed dramatically since I joined it, but in other ways not at all. The rise of digital technologies and the empowerment of consumers have been the theme of the past dozen or so years. The passion of audiences and the power of communications remain at the core. Managing the transition isn't easy, but it is fun.

As I take on this new role, I'm grateful and amazed that Rance Crain entrusted his and his dad's brand to me for a period of time; thankful for the chance to work alongside talented people who made me look good; happy to have served this business and spent time with so many of its characters; and excited to still be in its orbit.

See you on the circuit.
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