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Michael Milken, junk bond tycoon and convicted felon, is now Michael Milken, publishing tycoon. The junk bond king's Milken Institute in Santa Monica this month introduces a quarterly mag devoted to economic policy. Editor Peter Passell, who left The N.Y. Times after 20 years to start The Milken Institute Review, stresses the magazine has editorial independence from Milken. "People will just have to figure out that this is not a vanity project by reading it," says the editor, who has assembled a passel of lofty contributors including academics and a former Fed governor. It's a slickly produced magazine with a Marc Chagall painting on the cover of the first issue and a comic strip in the back. "We're pretty committed to making it accessible," Passell says. The mag will start with controlled circ of 10,000 and plans to move to select newsstands; Passell is offering comp subscriptions ([email protected]). The mag hasn't decided whether to add ads. It doesn't need the money: Forbes says Milken is worth $700 million. Any trepidation about working under Milken? "I wouldn't have come out here if I didn't have a lot of respect for the man," Passell says. Given Milken's role in creating a market for risky debt, he adds, "Economists love Michael Milken."

Black & Brown & read all over

There was a lot of Talk buzzing the grand ballroom of the N.Y. Hilton the evening of Feb. 16 as hundreds of media and marketing execs joined the American Jewish Committee for a dinner honoring Hearst Magazines prexy Cathie Black. The event marked the first public appearance of Black and her new partners Tina Brown and Ron Galotti since Hearst signed with the dynamic duo to co-publish Talk. But while attendees scoped the interactions of Black & Brown, it was other news that created the real buzz. Just an hour before the event, word came that Hachette chief David Pecker was leaving to join an investment group buying the National Enquirer and Star. Enquiring minds want to go.

Ziff-Davis eyes CMP

Add one more top contender to buy CMP Media (AA, Feb. 15): Ziff-Davis. Conventional wisdom was ZD, burdened by debt and in the midst of a ZDNet IPO, would pass. Not true. ZD approached CMP months ago and definitely is interested.

Teletubbies . . . Gorby lunch

Microsoft next month rolls a broadcast and print campaign for its computerized Actimates Teletubbies, Po and Laa Laa. Fans of is-he-or-isn't-he Tinky Winky will have to wait till his computer version arrives this summer. . . . Time is bringing its 1990 Man of the Decade, Mikhail Gorbachev, in for a lunch talk in Los Angeles March 2 with key advertisers and guests. . . . IDG's InfoWorld is starting a quarterly supplement, WITI Fast Track, with Women in Technology International. Content will target the growing base of female execs in the computer industry. . . . FCB/NY's lobby will be seen this summer in a new flick "You Are Here," directed by Jeff Winner. In the scene, a young man comes in for a job interview and surprises his potential employer with unbridled enthusiam. (FCBers are known for their unbridled enthusiasm.)

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Scott Donaton.

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