Today in media: The Times has partnered with a sketchy billionaire to stay afloat in the recession, and other media outlets, too, are looking for partners that will keep them in the lifestyle they are accustomed to.
• Newsweek has already begun its younger, Botox-ed phase. Next, of course, is the hunt for its rich soul mate! Though we already know the newsweekly is capable of making a funny, the mag is now looking for a smaller, more affluent readership. Tom Ascheim, Newsweek’s chief executive, says they are targeting the 1.2 million subscribers who are its best educated, most avid consumers of news: “These are our best customers. They are our best renewers, and they pay the most.” It’s always about the money, isn’t it, Tom? [NYT]
• Even escapist celeb weeklies have been hit by the economy. In Touch Weekly recorded the biggest decline, tumbling 29.3 percent to just 899,000. But all is not lost — Us Weekly dropped only 1.3 percent in circulation to 1.9 million. [NYT]
• CNN.com is topping Newsweek’s brilliant reality-TV spoof, “The District,” by actually filming two freshmen congressmen for a weekly series called Freshman Year. The freshies — one Democrat, one Republican — are producing most of the content themselves by carrying Flip video cameras on Capitol Hill. So far, one of them sleeps on a cot in his office to save money. [NYT]
• Interview lost yet another executive this week. Samantha Fennell was expected to report to her new job last Monday, but she declined her publisher title after the sudden exit of co–editorial director Fabien Baron and creative director Karl Templer. Turns out she learned of the departures from outside sources as the news broke late on Friday night, as opposed to having top execs tell her themselves. [WWD]
• Forbes Media has closed MountainTime, the recently launched luxury mag that focused on recreation and adventure in Western mountain towns. Somewhere deep in the Rockies, a wolf howls in the distance. [FishbowlNY/Mediabistro]