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The Influentials: Media

Rossana Rosado  

Rossana Rosado
CEO and publisher, El Diario/La Prensa
The queen of local Hispanic media. Rosado runs El Diario, the ink-and-newsprint lifeblood of New York’s Hispanic population (28 percent of the city; it’s 12.5 percent nationally), which has a notably activist tenor: El Diario’s motto translates to “Champion of the Hispanics.” The El Diario empire has recently increased its reach and visibility, linking with a series of Spanish-language papers across the country to form impreMedia, America’s largest publisher of Spanish-language papers. And the papers have amped up their reporting, publishing an award-winning series on New Jersey prisons illegally using dogs to handle immigrant inmates. As Rosado, a former street reporter who segued to publisher after serving as editor-in-chief, has said, “We’re a small paper in a big newspaper town. But we’re a huge paper within the small town that is the Hispanic community.”

Katie Couric
Co-anchor, the Today show; anchor-to-be, CBS Evening News
Just look at all the fuss. Couric’s move seismically altered the landscape of nightly news, as well as the profit-drenched morning shows. Her sway over her audience is undeniable: After her on-air colonoscopy led to a whopping 20 percent increase in test rates, the phenomenon of celebrities’ having an impact on health issues has been dubbed the “Katie Couric Effect.”

William Bastone
Editor and co-founder, the Smoking Gun The Smoking Gun Website has brought “gotcha” journalism into the digital age—and now no celebrity’s divorce filing, concert rider, or mug shot is safe. Bastone, a former Village Voice reporter, scored a mind-blowing 75 million page views by exposing James Frey’s Million Little fabrications in January, but that was just one in a series of scoops that include posting Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1977 Oui interview, the Bill O’Reilly sexual-harassment complaint, and the Duke rape indictment. Court TV (which bought TSG in 2000) brought cameras into the courtroom; the Smoking Gun puts the evidence on your desk.

Richard Johnson
Editor, “Page Six”
Orchestrator of the most closely read gossip page in America. “Like the Mafia,” as Jared Paul Stern so inelegantly put it, “Page Six” doles out favors to its friends and wreaks havoc on those who don’t cooperate, making stars and enemies alike. It’s turned the foibles of the famous into a highly entertaining spectator sport. Column mentions help keep Johnson’s favored restaurants and nightclubs full. Has popularized memorable nicknames (“the portly pepperpot”) and euphemisms (“canoodling”). The column was such an irritant to a press-shy California billionaire that he came out of hiding in an attempt to swat “Page Six” down—and its Teflon editor continues to ride the whole thing out.

Dan Klores and Sean Cassidy, Howard and Steven Rubenstein, and Ken Sunshine
Chairman and CEO, Dan Klores Communications; managing director and president, Dan Klores; president, Rubenstein Associates, Inc.; senior executive vice-president, Rubenstein; president, Ken Sunshine Consultants
The men on top of New York’s prime public-relations firms play crucial, largely offstage roles in practically every public skirmish in this town, deciding vicious municipal battles (what was the stadium face-off but a PR fight?) and celebrity duels (Nick vs. Jessica! Howard vs. CBS!). Both the Rubensteins and Klores’s shop are caught between generations: Howard Rubenstein, 74, is handing the firm to his son Steven, 36; Klores has left the day-to-day running of his eponymous agency to make films, and Cassidy has not so quietly expanded Klores’s roster by 25 percent. Sunshine, the Hollywood man in the city, has been called “the Madonna of PR,” that is, the king of reinvention. Respected for keeping huge clients—Leo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake—out of trashy media, Sunshine’s credited with making stars change their behavior so the tabs won’t find them.