Socialite Nepotism At Condé Nast: Shock Charge

Si Newhouse Jr. ordered more layoffs at Condé Nast last month; receptionists and online writers were promptly fired. But the magazine honcho apparently doesn't mind adding another Newhouse to the payroll.

Stephanie Newhouse is set to join Condé's Self magazine in a managerial role Monday, we hear.

How did she go from hawking her services on a modeling website to snagging a magazine management gig the middle of a media depression?

It would appear it helped that the wannabe flack married correctly. In 2007, as Stephanie Bond, she wed Jesse Newhouse, son of Mark Newhouse, a newspaper executive in the family publishing empire and cousin to Si Newhouse Jr. Mark's father was Norman Newhouse, Si Newhouse Sr.'s brother and partner in building Advance Publications.

All this makes Stephanie Newhouse, let's see, cousin-once-removed-in-law to Condé Chairman Si Newhouse Jr. — the wife of his cousin's son.

Socialite Nepotism At Condé Nast: Shock Charge

It also makes her very fortunate. She's been hired despite major cutbacks in the family business. Condé Nast effectively ended Men's Vogue last October, laid off 15 employees from Portfolio.com soon thereafter, is said to be in the midst cutting around 20 ad sellers, let go an untold number of workers at Wired.com and Ars Technica this past week and just fired a bunch of receptionists.

Stephanie Newhouse managed to get hired even in the wake of those cuts and amid an ongoing effort to slash costs 10 percent companywide. This sort of nepotism is to be expected. Her husband's grandfather Norman graduate from college into a job at a newspaper owned by his brother Si, more than a decade his senior. As an editor during the Great Depression, he had to manage through a major advertising drought, just as Stephanie Newhouse is about to do (reportedly).

That can be uncomfortable. Watching more senior, less-connected coworkers lose their jobs could stir empathy and remorse even in a high-society fixture like Stephanie Newhouse. But Uncle Si seems to have arranged things so it won't come to that: Self is getting through the downturn better than any other Condé Nast title, earning its publisher a company prize for 2008 performance.

Self no doubt owes its success to being written by and for upper-crust women of privilege; women who have managed to ride out the global economic meltdown better than most other consumers.

Women, that is, like Stephanie Newhouse.

(Pics: Park Avenue Peerage (top), Patrick McMullan via New York Social Diary (bottom))