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Green Issue Overload: Lay Off Condé Nast

No recycled paper? Who cares? Certainly not advertisers.

Henry Donahue By Henry Donahue
04/21/2008 -10:21 AM

I rarely rise in defense of Condé Nast. Wired is an especially nasty competitor of Discover, even though their science coverage is a small part of their tech culture package. The New Yorker also competes with us for ad pages.

You have to give them their due, though. From my perspective, they are by far the most effective spokespeople in the world for the power of magazines. Their editors are industry giants who straddle the worlds of media, fashion and entertainment. Do you ever hear Anna Wintour or Graydon Carter whining to the trades about the growing influence of blogs or some other piece of Internet hype? I don't think so. I would be surprised if there were many tables set aside for bloggers at the Waverly Inn.

More importantly, every bit of Condé Nast's DNA is attuned to extracting maximum dollars from advertisers. As I pointed out in a blog post a couple of months ago, along with your 12x schedule, Condé can deliver an integrated program featuring Beyonce caressing your product online, polybagged and on national TV.

This is why the drumbeat on about Vanity Fair's and the New York Times's green issues and recycled paper (or the lack thereof) is so off the mark. For better or worse, green issues aren't about public advocacy. Seriously, how can Madonna, who has a private jet and at least five enormous homes, be the cover girl for conservation?

The big publishers' green issues are about selling pages to advertisers who want to be associated with green content. And until those advertisers demand that their ads be printed on recycled paper (and provide the revenue that offsets the increased cost), the green issues will keep coming out on the same paper stock as every other issue.

In the meantime, please pick up the "Better Planet" issue of Discover on newsstands now. We are printed on FSC-certified paper and, after an extensive survey of our greenhouse gas emissions, purchased a carbon offset from You can also click over to our Better Planet blog or enter our Green Science Fair.

Happy Earth Day.


Henry Donahue By Henry Donahue -- Henry Donahue is the CEO of Discover Media LLC, the publisher of Discover magazine and Donahue was formerly CFO of Primedia's Lifestyles Magazine Group, a 30-plus magazine division, which included Soap Opera, Crafts, Boating, Equine and History titles.

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