Talk magazine enters a new phase in its evolution this week, when
Maer Roshan, former New York magazine deputy editor, joins as editorial
During his six years at New York, Roshan oversaw more than a handful of
stories on PR, including a piece on Howard Rubenstein and a much talked
about cover story about young influential female publicists. So he's no
stranger to the needs of PR people.
When asked how things might change under his aegis, Roshan says, "I'd
like to see the magazine tap the worlds of music, movies and TV. I think
there's been an absence of music coverage in general."
Though this may be music to the ears of PR people with clients in this
sector, it's clear he won't be the only person guiding the editorial
Editor-in-chief Tina Brown is still very involved in the monthly title
and Roshan's predecessor, Bob Wallace, retains responsibility for the
magazine in his new role as VP Talk Media.
Wallace, a former Rolling Stone editor, has a mandate to revamp the
firm's Web site, manage conferences and Talk/Miramax Books. Wallace's
final issue, June/July, is currently on newsstands. The choice of The
Producers as the cover story was famously made by the ever hands-on
Brown, who was so wowed by the Broadway smash that she rushed out of the
theater to organize a shoot with its stars Nathan Lane and Matthew
While Tina may have the last word on the cover, Wallace explains the
editorial mix beneath it. "We try to capture the cultural moment in
business, technology and politics," adding that celebrities also play a
"We like people to go out and about and find out what's going on." The
magazine has its own society editor.
The June/July issue certainly captured the zeitgeist (and generated
publicity for the magazine) with a piece on Elizabeth Jagger, the model
child of Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger. But the title doesn't shy from
hard-edged investigative stories such as this edition's feature on an
Argentinian murder story and a look inside the mind of a killer.
Relationships also figure heavily as a Talk theme, whether its coping
with babies in a restaurant or coping with husbands once babies come
"A lot of our readers are highly educated upscale women who juggle
marriage, children and jobs," says Wallace, who is keen to address
issues affecting Talk's 600,000-plus readers.
He also wants to persuade PR execs at major corporations that Talk may
want to write about their CEOs. It is not surprising the title wants to
get close to the business community, given the success of its first
conference, titled "Innovators and Navigators," which attracted the
likes of Jack Welch, Michael Bloomberg and Michael Eisner.
The conference was covered in the magazine, as are Talk/Miramax books,
leading some reporters, such as Keith Kelly, the New York Post's media
writer, to conclude that Talk goes overboard in support of Miramax
projects, whether they are movies, books or simply execs. The company
would argue that Talk was set up, in part, to cross promote Miramax
interests and in return articles may find their way to the big
If you're looking to pitch items and you're unfamiliar with who's
dealing with which section, Wallace says to try the editorial director
The "Gadgets" section is overseen by features editor Charles Gandee,
while spot items on celebrities, movies, books and the like fall under
"The Conversation" looked after by executive editor Vicky Ward. The book
section is handled by senior editor, Lee Smith.
Wallace says editorial meetings are usually held on Thursdays at about
11am. "The good stories rise to the top," says Wallace, adding, "We try
to make sure we have Hollywood, DC and New York covered. We are very
aware of the mix."
It would be hard to argue with Tina Brown's recent statement that Talk
is now a major brand, though some publicists are still struggling to see
why it should make their "must read" list.
Jane Wesman, president of Jane Wesman PR in New York, says she's not a
subscriber. "I don't find it mentioned in conversation," she says,
though she makes sure she's abreast of what's in it. In the past she's
always taken controversial book material to Vanity Fair. That will be a
challenge for Roshan to overcome.
Address: 118 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011
Tel: (212) 830-5858 Fax: (212) 641-3539
Editor-in-chief: Tina Brown
Vice president: Bob Wallace
Editorial director: Maer Roshan
Executive editor: Vicky Ward ('The Conversation')
Features editor: Charles Gandee (gadgets)
Senior editor: Lee Smith (books)