MEDIA PROFILE: Conde Nast Traveler: a guide for high society'sglobetrotters

Anita Chabria discovers how Conde Nast Traveler might change the

editorial mix as a result of the recent terrorist attacks

Conde Nast Traveler is one of the top titles for adventurous

globetrotters, with the September edition carrying pieces on places

ranging from Hanoi to Malibu. Unfortunately, there was also a piece

about New York's Hudson River, illustrated by a photo of a person

canoeing in front of the World Trade Center. Like many other magazines,

Traveler has been forced to make changes to future issues as a result of

the September 11 terrorist attacks.

A recent poll of some of Traveler's 750,000 paid subscribers found that

the majority are not afraid of travel, and will continue to roam the

globe, says editor-in-chief Thomas Wallace, who has been with the title

11 years.

But he adds that the next issue will focus heavily on safety and

logistics, and that those topics will continue to be covered in the


The magazine also axed an upcoming article on "air rage," and will

probably avoid subjects that may seem too close to the tragedy. However,

safety-related products and advice may find a good reception for future

pitches, and experts on new regulations and current events may be


While most people think of Traveler as a destinations title, Wallace

says the book's mission is far broader than just exposing exotic locales

- it's a full-service bible for travel aficionados, both business and

pleasure. This month's edition carries a fashion spread shot in Paris

and a piece on the filming of Captain Corelli's Mandolin in Greece.

"For all 14 years of its life, the magazine has done all it can to help

its readers manage their travel, make intelligent decisions, and keep

them informed about what's going on at a destination or in the industry

itself," he explains.

The magazine runs around six features a month, with sections that cover

subjects such as fashion, food, and history. There is certainly room for

creative PR execs to find a niche for their product with a clever travel


"Pitches can be as out there as you want," says Michelle Connolly of New

York-based MFC Public Relations, as long as they keep the travel angle

at the forefront. Connolly specializes in accessories, and has placed

numerous clients in Traveler. She successfully pitched a new watch by

high-end Swiss company Audemars Pigueg to fashion market editor Hyla


Because the watch can give sunrise and sunset times from any place in

the world, she knew it not only had the strong travel component that the

magazine requires, but also fit its upscale and cutting-edge image. She

says Bauer is usually willing to set up appointments to see new

products, but "is pretty familiar with what's out there."

While most PR people have found Traveler staff to be very available and

friendly, Wallace says that the majority of ideas are generated


Less than 50% of feature ideas come from outside sources, and

front-of-the-book sections such as "Stop Press" have a dedicated

in-house staff devising its own angles. The September issue had items on

how to get cheap theater tickets around the world.

Wallace says feature ideas that can be included in a larger story, or

subjects mentioned on the magazine's editorial calendar, are the best

pointers for PR people. When it comes to choosing those big stories, "we

want a very strong narrative," says Wallace. "A personal connection is

also important. We want the story to have an animating idea."

When Traveler does pick up an outside pitch, it involves a bit of luck -

it usually means the idea was something the magazine already had in


"They were very open to hearing about new locations," says LA-based

Andrea Kaye, a senior media specialist with Golin/Harris International.

"But they had a specific angle that they were looking for."

"They very much have their own ideas and editorial schedules that aren't

influenced by PR practitioners," agrees Karen Gee-McAuley, SVP of

LA-based The Blaze Company.

Gee-McAuley reps high-end hotels such as the Oaks at Ojai (a spa/hotel

outside of LA), many of which make it into Traveler special issues such

as February's annual Gold List. The Gold List is a selection of the

"creme de la creme" of travel, from cruises to hotels. She adds that

even when Traveler staff have visited her properties in the past; they

often do so anonymously, and on their own schedule.

She recommends pitching at least six months in advance, and asking for

feedback even when an idea is declined. "They're very open about

discussing decisions," she says.



Tel.: (212) 286-2860

Fax: (212) 286-2190



Editor-in-chief: Thomas Wallace

Features editors: Alison Humes; Gully Wells; Irene Schneider

News editor: Krista Carothers

Consumer news editor: Wendy Perrin

Fashion markets editor: Hyla Bauer

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