The Post's Keith Kelly brought news earlier in the week that Rolling Stone honcho Jann Wenner is in talks with MTV to launch an Apprentice-style reality show in which aspiring rock journalists compete for a chance to work at RS. We thought it only fair to the college kids drooling over this opportunity to tell them what it's really like to work for Wenner Media, and so we solicited favorite Jann tales from our readers. As always, you guys delivered.
Clearly, though, the most legendary Jannism is his cleanliness fetish and the annual office inspections the man himself conducts. Happily, our pal Jossip posted a detailed accounting yesterday of the inspection process. Consider whether you really want to work for this dude:
Here's how the process works: First, two weeks before the inspection, members of the office management team come through and make a note of desks and offices that probably won't pass inspection. Then, a few days later, another specially-appointed staff member comes through with detailed pointers on how those desks likely to fail inspection need to improve (e.g. "some of the items on your cork board are hanging below the divider line, some of the papers attached to your cube are overlapping, you have too many photos on your desk," etc.)
Afterwards, Jann's personal assistant Mary Mac comes by to inspect the offices of more senior staff whose clutter levels have been deemed excessive by the previous two task forces. She will continue to visit and re-inspect until everything is brought up to par. Finally, Jann will come through personally to inspect every desk and office. Those who fail Jann's inspection must repeat the whole process over again until he approves.
After the jump, more tales of OCD, weight issues, and the notorious ban on magazines at Jann's magazines.
"We once ran a cover line on a package about President Clinton's scandals: 'The Clinton Perplex.' Everyone was afraid to tell him that 'perplex' isn't a noun."
"A memo was sent around one day telling us that we couldn't have back issues of the magazine at our desks. We had to go to the library every time we wanted to consult a previous issue. People would hide issues in their desk drawers."
"I was warned to keep my work area clear of anything other than work memos. How did he let us know this? With a memo!"
"Wenner summarily fired me from Rolling Stone back in the '70s in front of Tom Wolfe, then walked out of the room, leaving us both at a loss of words."
"Shortly after I started, he came rushing out, asking my boss for some piece of information. I was deputized with the task of getting it. I was fast about it (whatever it was, it was easy), and Jann was very pleased how quickly I brought it into his office. He rushed out and said to my boss, "Promote that man!" A year and a half later, unpromoted, I quit."
"Chip Stern, a somewhat, shall we say, "eccentric" music writer (jazz, mostly) worked for The Record, Jann's first younger music offshoot a few years back. Chip was pretty hefty and carried around all his stuff in a Zildjian cymbal case because he drummed in his off hours. One day Wenner stuck his head into editor Dave McGee's office and said, "Tell jazz boy to lose 40 lbs. and get rid of the cymbal case by next week!"
"Once Jann decided to stop feeding the people who work really late to close issues — people tend to work until anywhere form 11p.m. to 2 a.m. during an issue's close week. He instead opted to feed the hard-working staff just once (or maybe twice, if enough people begged) a week with pizza or something bland (and cheap) of that sort. A few staff members overheard Jann saying that it was probably for the best that everyone wasn't getting fed the expensive and complicated meals during closing time (believe me, the meals weren't that appetizing to begin with) because, he said, he thought that people were staying late to get fed for free anyway (as if anyone would hang out until 11 p.m. for those strange-tasting, mass-produced dinners). Then he added that it was also for the best because, "People around here are starting to get chubby."