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Portfolio vs. Vanity Fair: Infighting At Condé Nast

07/11/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tongues are wagging yet again over the fate of Conde Nast's business magazine Portfolio, and this time it's not just embittered ex-staffers. The thin display of ads in this month's issue with Starbucks' Howard Schultz as cover art (32 ad pages, according to a spokeswoman) was shocking to many, even if it does reflect summer doldrums and a slowed economy. How long can it go on this way? Meanwhile, the mood in editorial is far from warm and fuzzy. The latest top editor to leave is photo editor Lisa Berman, who has just abandoned the glamorous glossy for the more workaday environs of Entertainment Weekly. "I don't know a single writer or editor there who wouldn't rather be working somewhere else," came the harsh view from inside the Conde Nast building. Calls around the Times Square tower kick up a surprising amount of animosity toward editor Joanne Lipman, with comments like "confusion" and "identity crisis" among the kinder remarks. (We try to avoid ad hominems here at Waxword.)

There's another thing. Here in Hollywood, I keep hearing that Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter has prevailed on his coterie of power broker friends - among them Brian Grazer, Jim Wiatt, Brad Grey - to keep Portfolio from any big Hollywood 'gets.' Carter denies it. But it is notable that Portfolio has yet to weigh in with any major Hollywood pieces that might move magazines off the stand.

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