Michael Wolff, the Vanity Fair media columnist and Newser founder best known for just saying whatever the fuck he thinks will get a rise out of anyone, is the new editorial director of Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek. Uh. Why?
By trade magazine standards, Michael Wolff is a sexy, big-name hire, which says more about trade magazines than anything else. e5 Media, which owns the mags, has been on an aggressive hiring streak since Richard Beckman took over—he installed Janice Min as head of the Hollywood Reporter, and now Wolff. He's clearly trying to revive the fortunes of these second-tier mags. And he better, because being the #2 trade magazine in an industry is one of the most precarious places any magazine can be.
But is Michael Wolff really the man for the job? Trade magazines are not like regular magazines. They come to dominate their industries by smartly and aggressively catering to a very particular target audience: in this case, ad agency and media agency employees and professional marketers. These are not the people who anxiously tune in for Michael Wolff's latest media feud. They anxiously tune in for, you know, best practices of efficient online marketing, and other boring shit like that.
Or do they? Ad Age, the magazine Wolff will need to beat, is a relatively interesting read in its own right. I mean, by trade magazine standards. Maybe they just gave him a huge fucking paycheck? No matter what happens, Wolff, who's giving up his VF media column, just shrunk the prestige of his own platform. Although that may be well worth it, depending how huge the check was. He told the NYT: "I will be the dominant voice in the Adweek constellation."