David Churbuck, the founder of Forbes.com (and sweaty prep-school wrestling partner of Fake Steve Jobs blogger turned boring Newsweek columnist Dan Lyons), has weighed in on the chaos enveloping his former employer, the investor-friendly, snarkier-than-thou business magazine. Churbuck, like many Forbes alumni, seems to know more of what's going on than its current employees. The publication, now backed by Silicon Valley investment house Elevation Partners, is colliding together its Web and print editorial teams, and the result could be nuclear, as editors and writers scramble for position in the new order. Churbuck observes that the split between print and online had its roots in a plan to spin off Forbes.com in an IPO during the go-go late '90s; even after plans for an IPO were scrapped, the division persisted. Now, Elevation is pushing to consolidate the staffs, Churbuck says. Separately, a tipster reports several personnel moves happening at Forbes. Are they coincidence, or a sign of people positioning their own careers for the coming upheaval? Hard to say.
- Forbes.com superstar Lacey Rose will move to Los Angeles and will take the lead on the magazine's Celeb List.
- Scott Woolley, L.A. bureau chief, is moving back to New York to run a team there.
- Betsy Corcoran, who runs the Forbes.com team in the magazine's Silicon Valley bureau, is stepping back from editing to do more writing — but some in Forbesian circles think she might be interested in ousting Quentin Hardy, her replacement as the magazine's Valley bureau chief, as head of the combined print and Web operations in the Valley. Corcoran says, "No, no, no. Wrong."
Our tipster adds: "Please don't buy this bullshit about how nice things are between print and dotcom." The ongoing intra-Forbesian unpleasantness aside, one big question looms over the coming reorganization: Who's going to run the whole show. Churbuck thinks Bill Baldwin, the magazine's editor, is brainy but clueless. Forbes.com editor Paul Maidment, insiders say, is just a "puppet" of the publisher, Jim Spanfeller, and Maidment's contract is up soon. We have a suggestion: Why not just make Bono, the rock star turned venture capitalist at Elevation Partners, editor-in-chief of the whole shebang?