The Lazy Zen Approach To Crisis CoverageSo Portfolio went with a Dov Charney cover in the midst of the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Hey, what do you expect them to do—undo stuff that had already been planned? What are they, a daily? No, they're a monthly, and they refuse to get all worked up about anything. They must maintain their office's monk-like atmosphere at all costs. And their fellow business mags agree: with a little creative editing, you can make it look like you're covering this crisis without doing any extra work at all! Portfolio's response to the crisis: meetings.
“We’ve had more meetings,” said the magazine’s editor, Joanne Lipman. “And one of the things we did is we made a list of every writer we had and what stories they’re working on, and asked how their pieces are relevant, and has the landscape changed in a way to reshape their stories.”
Fortune's response: get lucky.
Two weeks after Lehman Brothers went under, a blown-up picture of Henry Paulson’s face, looking not so smug, was plastered across the cover of the biweekly Fortune with the cover line: “Paulson to the Rescue.” On Oct. 23, an image of former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg in sunglasses took the cover, weeks after AIG went down... “We had those sticks in the fire already, which was great,” said Andy Serwer, the managing editor of Fortune. “That was something in the works for a while and it fell into place perfectly.”
Forbes' response: Look really hard at whatever you have on the cover; think deeply; concoct a tenuous explanation that could theoretically connect said cover and the current crisis.
And Forbes, a biweekly, is now at newsstands with a cover portrait of a man in a hard hat, which is a tie-in to their annual feature on the 200 Best Small Companies. “If you look at the cover—it combines the elements of the best small-business review and a look at the economy and looks where we’re going,” said Bill Baldwin, Forbes’ editor.
We understand. We're lazy too. [NYO]