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Josh Gordon

Online Media Buyers are Different

Josh Gordon Sales and Marketing - 02/11/2008-13:31 PM

As we struggle to understand the differences between selling online and print media it is important to know that ad agencies are struggling to understand the differences between buying online and print.

The career advice column from Media Life, "Ask Rachel," recently laid out the differences while offering advice to a media buyer considering a move from buying traditional media to online media:

Given that digital planners generally earn more at the same title and experience levels that their general market counterparts, there is room to give a traditional person a raise but still bring them in and save money.

Online is very demanding, for one. You'd likely be working with multiple clients, many of them with misconceptions about the medium. So you would be teaching them as you learned, always a challenging endeavor.

Also, online undergoes constant change, day by day. You'd spend huge amounts of time simply staying up with the changes and weeding through the endless hype that comes with them.

You'd likely be doing it all, too. It's the nature of online that job functions tend to blur. You'd be strategist, planner, buyer, manager, and analyst of how the campaign served or did not serve the client's objectives.

You'd have to excel when it comes to attention to details. You’d have to have an open mind that's not afraid to undertake digesting a lot of new information very quickly. You'd have to be real good at numbers. And you'd have to be a solid communicator, explaining it all to clients and your supervisors—without a lot of wasted verbiage. You'd have to be a great negotiator.

The next time you call on an online media buyer, consider the different pressures he or she is under compared with the print people you call on right down the hall.

Dylan Stableford

Maer Roshan’s Anna Wintour Fetish

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 02/11/2008-13:01 PM

Radar editor Maer Roshan has a thing for Anna Wintour. The Vogue editrix—and FOLIO: 40 veteran—appears in a photo illustration on Radar’s current March issue cover.

It’s not the first time she has appeared on magazine cover (weird to say, but I asked a number of magazine veterans who couldn’t recall Wintour on another national magazine cover ever—if you can recall one, let us know in the comments section). In September 1999, she was profiled in a New York magazine cover story.

New York’s editor at the time? Maer Roshan.

Perhaps Luke Hayman, the hot shot designer responsible for New York’s award-winning look and Time magazine’s historic redesign, will be able to reign in Roshan’s Wintour fetishism. This week, Hayman was hired by Radar as a design consultant.

Timothy M. Gray | Michael Speier

How the Writers Guild Strike Changed Variety

Timothy M. Gray | Michael Speier Editorial - 02/07/2008-16:27 PM

Soon after the Nov. 5 start of the Writers Guild strike, one thing became quickly apparent at Variety: This event was going to require a lot of enterprise. It’s arguably Hollywood’s biggest story in 20 years and needs extensive coverage, but frankly, how many times can you say, “They’re still not talking and the whole town is anxious”?

Strike coverage became a mini-industry at the paper/Web site. Every day we have a news meeting to discuss the stories for the following day’s paper: What goes on page 1, what can hold, etc.

But the strike meant regular sub-meetings: What’s happening on the talk show circuit, what’s going on in primetime, how are film studios changing their schedules—and, of course, what’s the progress in negotiations.

For the first time, Variety commissioned surveys of readers. The overwhelming majority of readers were supportive but pessimistic, declaring that the strike was necessary—but doubtful that the writers would achieve their goals.

Our reporter Dave McNary covers the guilds, which usually involves elections, procedural stuff and awards. Now his beat became a 24/7 task and we reminded the other reporters that the strike wasn’t just Dave’s beat—it was everybody’s.

This was basically a TV strike, so the TV reporters and editors immediately rose to the challenge. Everybody talked to picketers, tapped into old sources while currying new ones, and then pooled information.

This was the first Hollywood strike fueled by—and negotiated on—the Web. Information was disseminated quickly by both sides. In turn, Variety was forced to address our Web initiatives more wholly than we ever had before. Stories would break online, we would update them constantly, we would be on high alert all the time and we would staff up for possible news. It became a Web story first. A print story second.

For the first few weeks, it was exhilarating. There was electricity in the air because we knew this was a Big Story, affecting the way the business works, changing lives and livelihoods.

Editorially, it meant long, hard days during the holiday season—when, like most other newspapers, we would have had smaller papers, end-of-year news and routine stories. But now we had difficult weeks with up to four strike stories each day. Our front pages took on new looks. We packaged things like never before. Stories about agencies firing staff, restaurants losing business, potential award show cancellations. What usually was a time for Oscar buzz quickly became a time to make our issues more centralized on developed strike coverage. It was a textbook study in how one story can produce many angles.

After a few weeks of those long workdays (and often no rest on weekends), the electricity in the air started to short-circuit, and the great fountain of ideas gave way to tedium. Stories were well-reported, but sometimes a little disorganized (editors took care of that). At one point, we forced McNary to take a 48-hour hiatus.

Occasionally we’d have to tell ourselves not to concentrate solely on repercussions, but to go back to the basics and remind people of the issues—and numbers—involved.

The strike dovetailed with awards season, creating a de facto timetable: Will the strike be settled before the Oscars? And details on awards-show negotiations provided a metaphor for the bigger picture, since they revealed both sides’ tactics, as well as the roles of other guilds—notably the Screen Actors Guild—and the ripple effect on other big-bucks aspects of the industry.

When the Golden Globes were in effect cancelled, we were able to see tangible effects of the strike. All of a sudden, everyone was affected, because parties, red carpets and fashion moments—each of which generates big bucks—were officially nixed.

In the 10 days leading up to the Globes, we were getting a new rumor every 15 minutes as Dick Clark Productions, the HFPA (which gives out the Globes), NBC and the WGA issued new info or negated rumors we’d heard.

As it looks like the strike is winding down, it’s good to think that everyone will be back to work again. Now all we have to do is deal with the fact that our adrenaline is totally out of whack.

Joanna Pettas

Dwell’s ‘Dwell’ Keeps on Growing ...

Joanna Pettas Design and Production - 02/07/2008-14:53 PM

Dwell's incredible expanding logo

When Dwell launched in October 2000, the magazine carried a modest lower-cased logo clinging sheepishly to the upper left-hand corner of its covers. Look at it now: Dwell's nameplate was upped again for its February issue redesign, sprawled out unabashedly across the top third of its cover.

Is this a case of overcompensating bravado in a time of turmoil for the shelter category-marked by the demise of Conde Nast's House and Garden and the print version of Martha Stewart's Blueprint? Or is Dwell merely acting on its rightful bragging rights?

According to ABC FAS-FAX numbers released this time last year, Dwell was one of the top 10 gainers in copies sold in 2006, with increase of 13.3 percent increase over the year before. Maybe the 2007 numbers, slated to be released next week, will shed some light.

Dylan Stableford

The Wal-Mart List

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 02/06/2008-16:00 PM

Magazines love lists, don’t they?

Well, we've got the motherlode: the mysterious list of magazines Wal-Mart decided to remove from its shelves.

Wal-Mart has thus far refused to release anything official; however, the list surfaced last week on the New York Post’s Web site—buried in a link at the bottom of one of Keith Kelly’s columns—but was quickly taken down.

We’ve reprinted it, in full, here.

NOTE: Click here for the full list.


Mark Newman

What Type of Editor Are You?

Mark Newman Editorial - 02/06/2008-13:03 PM

You can divide any given population into two distinct groups: cat people or dog people; Republicans or Democrats; Neil Diamond fans or Neil Diamond haters.

For editors, it's no different—there are Writers Who Edit, and Editors Who Write.

Whichever one you are is irrelevant for the most part, except when it comes to dealing with writers. For fun, I sent out a mass email to colleagues past and present asking them which type of editor they prefer and why. They had some pretty interesting opinions … as writers often do.

Most writers want an editor who will improve—rather than overhaul—what they’ve submitted. Inversely, most editors want writers who are also mind readers. It ain’t gonna happen!

“I prefer an editor who just tightens up and polishes what I've given,” says June Dollar, who wrote a story for Southern Breeze about boiled peanuts, a Southern delicacy. “Don't take away from the flavor. The editor's job is not to rewrite the story the way he or she would have written it.”

According to Mississippi-based writer and author Marlo Kirkpatrick, if the writer has done a good job to begin with, suggestions should relate to how a good article could be improved—“adding a sidebar, getting an extra quotation from a source with a differing opinion, etc.”—rather than suggestions or rewrites needed to correct sloppy work.”

“A good editor knows how to present his ideas, not rewrite the piece or even present his/her solution,” wrote Deb Burst, an award-winning, Louisiana-based writer. “Plain and simple, an editor’s job is to edit--guide the writer to crank out the best possible copy in the writer's own voice.”

Deb also made an interesting parallel between writing and parenting that I thought was especially relevant. Like both parenting and editing, the challenge is knowing how much is enough. “Too much [parenting] and you have a child with no self-confidence or sense of accomplishment, constantly told that their work is never good enough. Too little parenting offers no real direction and a child that craves knowledge and guidelines.”

Kathie Farnell, a former lawyer who left those legal briefs behind to pursue freelance writing, says that vague instructions (“Add more flavor”) don’t do anyone any favors while yet another editor’s oddly specific instructions (“Take out that comma”) didn’t really provide much guidance.

As for me, I consider myself one of those “editors who writes.” I’ve worked with the other type of editor and—like my colleagues have alluded to above—the result was a good article that had my byline but I didn’t really recognize it upon publication. It’s not a good feeling; it’s like you’ve been scolded in print.

If the writer understands the assignment from get-go then there should be very little work on the editor’s part. I’ve queried writers about the usual things like “What does that mean?” or “Who said this?” or “needs a conclusion” or “take out that comma.” But in the end, while it is your publication, it IS the writer’s voice that should be heard. Otherwise, why would you hire them in the first place? Editing every story the way one person would write it will eventually result in a magazine more akin to a colorful textbook.

Deb concluded her e-mail with the following: “Editing, writing, and parenting is a lifetime of learning; we never really finish the gig, we just keep getting better. With a little luck we'll run into a handful of good editors/writers in this wordy kingdom and leave a legacy of brilliant copy.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself—and I only edited it for punctuation!

Dylan Stableford

Vice Asks Readers to Pay for Subscription to Free Magazine

Dylan Stableford Audience Development - 02/05/2008-14:23 PM

Vice, the brutally irreverent New York-based magazine (which now boasts a slew of international editions, a critically-acclaimed online television site and a record label), has long employed free distribution at downtown boutiques to deliver its influential brand of hipster content to readers. And whatever your feelings are on Vice's acidic tone, there’s no arguing that it’s one of the prettiest, heaviest free magazines around—a fact the magazine itself touts on its covers.

Which is why it was bit of a shock to see the subscription card in a recent issue asking people to pay for subscriptions.

Why now? Vice says the magazine is so pretty, readers take stacks of free copies from these boutiques, subverting the key part of their distribution model.

Could this be first sign of trouble at Vice, a multiplatform, success story that has had as much to do with image as business acumen? Or is this a sly way to tack on revenue at a company whose founders have successfully positioned themselves as professional tastemakers, inking a development deal with MTV?

One of those founders, Gavin McInnes, left the company last month, citing “creative differences.”

His exit memo was, of course, brutally irreverent.

Josh Gordon

Using Post-Super Bowl Chatter to Sell Ad Space

Josh Gordon Sales and Marketing - 02/05/2008-14:19 PM

The New York Giants won the Super Bowl, but who won the ad game? After the show there will be many reviews of the ads and which ones got the viewers attention. It turns out there is a big dividend paid to those Super Bowl ads that score high, literally. University of Buffalo doctoral student Jing Jiang and Cornell professor Charles Chang studied the relationship between company stock price and Super Bowl advertising for the last 17 Super Bowls and discovered that the top 10 Super Bowl ads significantly moved the stock price right after the game for advertisers.

According to the study, "The stocks of companies running ads that ranked in the top 10 outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 index by 26 basis points the day after the game and by 1.6 percentage points over the following week.

After four weeks, the shares did almost 3 percentage points better than the S&P 500, although Kim says the link between the Super Bowl ads and the performance of the stock weakens over time because other news and events could influence the price of the shares."

Curiously, there was also consistent minor positive movement on stock price of companies whose ads scored lowest. It seems the most dangerous place to be as far as stock price goes is in the middle.

As you chat with advertisers today, the day after Super Bowl Sunday, mentioning this curious study is a great way to reinforce the effectiveness of advertising and of the importance of having great creative that connects with an audience.

More here ...

Paul Conley

Changing Just One Mind

Paul Conley Editorial - 02/05/2008-14:11 PM

If you could change the mindset of only one person at your publication, who would it be? If you could get only one person to become part of the Web culture, who would it be?

Perhaps you'd say the managing editor. Or maybe the head of ad sales. Maybe you'd vote for the CEO or the editor-in-chief or the publisher.

But here's my suggestion: Change the mindset of your recruiter.

A few months ago I sat on a panel with two recruiters from mid-sized newspaper chains. They were both lovely people. But I think it's safe to say that they didn't share my beliefs about how to recruit or what to look for in a new hire.

One of them was asked "what would make you throw out a resume?" And she replied that she wouldn't hire anyone with a resume that said "multimedia reporter." She went on to say that she was looking for "newspaper people." But then, a few minutes later, she mentioned that the reporters at her chain were now being trained to carry video cameras.

The other woman, when asked about how she looks through applications, said she doesn't look at electronic resumes and won't follow links to Web stories, multimedia packages or other online examples of work. The reason? She said she didn't have the time, and preferred to look at things on paper.

In the world of B2B, I suspect that the folks that screen resumes for us have many of these same mindset problems. And it's not their fault. It's our fault.

At big companies, much of recruiting is done by people in human resources. And those folks are often experts in the world of HR. But how many of them are aware of the changes underway in media? How many of them understand the challenges of moving to online?

At smaller companies, editorial recruiting is often done by the existing staff. But how can we expect legacy editors to understand what to look for in the next generation of journalists. In some cases, the initial screening of resumes is done by administrative personnel. But if we haven't yet been able to get many of our senior editors to understand the Web, why would we expect our admins to grasp the nature of online journalism?

Pat Thornton recently posted a piece in which he complained about "ads looking for people who know PHP, MySQL, Ruby, Python, Django, HTML, CSS, Javascript, Ajax, Flash, multimedia reporting, photo editing, video editing, Incredible Hulk strength, etc." Pat suggests, correctly, that the "the people hiring new media talent at many newspapers don’t have a clue about what they are looking for." So, according to Pat, recruiters are filling ads with a slew of Web terms and acronyms hoping that someone, somewhere will come in to fix everything.

But the problem that I see most often is worse -- people who don't have a clue about new media looking to hire new talent. They don't even know what Web terms and acronyms to look for in a resume.

But either way, the solution is the same. If you want to hire the right people with the right skills and the right mindset, then you must ensure that the person who does your recruiting knows online journalism.

Here are five steps to take:

1. Find out how applications are processed at your publication. Who writes the ads, screens the resumes, etc.

2. Meet with that person on an informal basis. Try to gauge what they do and don't understand about new media.

3. Invite them to meet with anyone on staff who has the skills you're trying to duplicate.

4. Invite them to attend the places where you talk about the future -- senior leadership meetings, editorial meetings, newsroom training sessions, etc.

5. Offer to help. If you know what your publication needs, ask if you can help screen resumes and interview applicants.

Jason Fell

Christian Groups Slam Boston Mag Ad

Jason Fell City and Regionals - 02/04/2008-17:21 PM

As reeling Boston sports fans look for someone—anyone—to blame for the Patriots’ upset loss to the New York Giants in yesterday’s Super Bowl, Boston area Christian groups are pointing their fingers at Boston magazine over what they say is a controversial ad in the February issue.

The ad, for the Equinox Fitness Club, depicts a group of women dressed as nuns in habit sketching a buff naked man. The ad was designed, in part, by edgy advertising agency Fallon Worldwide as part of its “Happily Ever” campaign which the agency says asks: “What is your Happily Ever? What are you striving for in fitness? In life? What’s the fairy-tale end game to all your hard work?” The campaign has also run in a number of national magazines including Vanity Fair, Vogue and Esquire.

“This patently stupid ad that Equinox is floating suggests that it must hype its edgy image in order to compete,” Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights president Bill Donohue wrote on the group's Web site. “That’s too bad—apparently their targeted demographic group isn’t lured by the prospect of more barbells and fruit bars. Hence, the need to rip off Catholic imagery in a sophomoric soft-porn ad.”

Sophomoric? Maybe. I’m not sure how this installment of the “Happily Ever” campaign really helps sell gym memberships. Soft porn? The ad is certainly edgy (it has caused a bit of a stir, hasn’t it?), but I’m not sure that it really crosses any lines.

David H. Lipson Jr., president of Metrocorp (Boston magazine’s parent company) did not return an e-mail seeking comment. A Fallon Worldwide spokesperson declined to comment about the controversy.

What do you think?

NOTE: Please leave your comments in the comments section below.

Matt Kinsman

Edit '08: Content or Traffic? Bigger Budgets or Outsourcing?

Matt Kinsman Editorial - 02/04/2008-14:33 PM

News-media gossip site Gawker caused a stir at the beginning of 2008 when owner Nick Denton sent an internal memo saying that bloggers will be compensated for traffic generated, rather than for the number of posts they make. That set off a firestorm in the blogosphere, with pundits ranging from Valleywag (which published the memo) to Publishing 2.0's Scott Karp debating whether this is part of a trend in which editorial is being valued less for legitimate content and more for flashy, gossipy pieces that drive hits. The debate also focuses on whether a lot of "hits" are necessarily preferable to the "right" kind of traffic.

Still, this isn't a phenomenon limited to new media companies like Gawker. Ziff Davis Enterprise has focused on traffic-driving for a while. "From a journalism perspective, there was a new imperative to rationalize: Grow traffic," Mike Vizard, senior vice president and editorial director of Ziff Davis Enterprise told FOLIO: last year. "Our editors are always keeping an eye on the site traffic and if a story is hot, they'll understand and have five follow-ups." For ZDE, that includes sitting down every month to develop big-idea stories that are going to drive traffic-such as The Top 100 People In IT.

Meanwhile, facing a revenue fall and a cost crunch, publishers are splitting on the value of edit. Many are re-investing in editorial, especially as they try to build up a fledgling online business. Business-to-business publisher Hoyt Publishing is starting to pay editorial sales-type money. "The equation overall has shifted," says president Peter Hoyt. "Instead of paying the salespeople big money, now we're paying the editors and have kids on the phone selling." Consumer enthusiast publisher Gearhead Communications has doubled its edit budget for the last six months and plans to keep doubling it for the foreseeable future.

However, b-to-b media consultant Paul Conley thinks U.S. editorial jobs will increasingly be farmed out overseas, and he's backed up comments made for FOLIO:'s 2008 industry predictions by Peter Goldstone, president of Hanley Wood Business Media. "I predict at least one major b-to-b publisher will outsource some or all of its editorial overseas," Goldstone says. "The most likely scenario is that one of the dozens of magazines that have launched overseas editions in Vietnam, China, India and elsewhere will ask their overseas staff to take over U.S.-focused beats. Once a publisher comes to understand that the work being done overseas is as good as what's done in the home office, it's inevitable that he'll move more work offshore."

Chris Napolitano

Behind Playboy’s Sweaty Super Bowl Party

Chris Napolitano Consumer - 01/31/2008-16:05 PM

On Friday morning I’ll be flying out of sunny Newark, New Jersey and heading to Phoenix for the Super Bowl. Well, not exactly the Super Bowl itself. As a jaded media insider, I’ll actually plant my behind in a seat out of Phoenix in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday and watch the game at home (trust me, it’s a better experience). So the truth is I’m making the six-hour trek to sweat through Playboy’s million-dollar extravaganza known at Super Saturday Night, the best party we throw outside of Hef’s Mansion spectaculars (the Midsummer Night’s Eve and Halloween parties in particular). Chances are most people will never get a chance to go to Hef’s biggest blow-outs, so the SSN bash is probably the closest heaven ever gets to earth for a select group of the people who know people.

And what will you find when there? I don’t know exactly, I haven’t been to the venue. But the Playboy marketing, PR and ad sales teams have been overheating their engines for a solid month to pull this thing off, and if the past is any guide, I’m looking at eight hours of pure adrenaline. So now comes the press-release portion of what’s going down in the desert, which sadly won’t do it justice, and may actually make the party seem similar to what other magazines and companies are doing. But it’s not. Playboy knows parties, which is why this event, which started 10 years ago as a small, simple advertiser-sponsored event at a restaurant (the lines around the block tipped us off to the fact that we had something to exploit, and so we did) has won the best-party awards from the press and attendees for the last several years.

The theme is Playboy’s Desert Oasis and Resort. Common will be the host. Hef will be there. So will our March 2008 cover stars, the Girls Next Door—Holly, Bridget and Kendra. They’ll all fly in on the wings of one of our principal sponsors, Jet One Jets. We’ll have huge blow-ups of the new March 2008 cover—three of them. Why three? It’s the three GND’s third time on the cover, and this is the first time Playboy has produced what’s commonly known as a split run of covers. So there’s a collectible angle at work. Subscribers are receiving a racy version of the cover, with the girls mostly nude; military bases and Europe will see a semi-nude cover; American newsstands, naturally, will get a clothed version (all variations available for sale at

There will be a celebrity DJ—Wild ‘N Out host and actor Nick Cannon—sharing time with DJ Reach. There will be lots of different environments—dance floors, cabanas, and an Oasis Bar pouring the drinks of our sponsors (Corona Extra; Cuervo Black) and offering Playboy Cigars. There will be a giant martini glass and a life-size Femlin (it’s her 50th Anniversary, after all), a Playboy TV Lounge (with retro footage of Hef and new clips of current shows; it’s PBTV’s 25th Anniversary (we’re big on anniversaries here)). What else? A coffee shop, the Girls Next Door Café, with grilled cheese and more TVs (retro-style), a mock-gift shop with lots of freebies (our licensing groups is launching a new men’s underwear line). And at 12:30 our Playmates will change into Playboy’s new men’s boxers.

Speaking of girls, we’ll have 26 Playmates there, and dozens of Painted Ladies (the most beautiful local models wearing nothing but paint). The New England Patriot Cheerleaders are attending; so are the Hawaiian Tropic Girls. Believe me, based on the amount of happy, partying, scantily clad women alone, there’s no way another party will beat ours, which is why our magazine competitors have given up on throwing parties on Saturday night, leaving Playboy to own the evening. All this for just 2,000 lucky guests—so few tickets, that scalpers sometimes drive up the price of the rare black market tix to levels rivaling that of the actual game tickets (sometimes as high as $2,500). We’ve gotten increasingly sophisticated with our ticket production (holograms, black-light watermarks) to avoid counterfeit tickets, which is a huge problem. If someone drinks too much? No worries—Cuervo Black has set up a Safe Rides program to help everyone get home.

We expect a lot of celebs to show—Entourage guys like Kevin Dillon and Alyssa Milano, Lauren Conrad, athletes like Amare Stoudamire and Keyshawn Johnson have committed early, and the already large list is sure to grow.

One more thing: This is not a sausage fest. The ratio of women to men is generally 1:1, and women who attend the event have as much fun as anybody. It’s the key to Playboy’s mainstream. A female guest can get as sexy as she wants and dress however she likes without worrying that she’s going to catch crap for her behavior or having people snark that she’s underdressed.

One of the more comical aspects for us here is receiving calls from executives at companies who shun our business on moral grounds (there are a few of them out there; just look at some of the conservative-leaning corporations who back the kind of political initiatives that are completely opposed to Playboy’s progressive and libertarian philosophies, and you’ll be able to identify the hypocrites).

Not all my memories of past Super Bowls are good. In fact, I missed last year’s party in Miami thanks to a stomach flu that hit me right after our walk-through at the Miami Heat arena. I shivered and shook under the covers all through the night, fearful that I’d miss my early morning plane ride.

I also recall a sharing a moment with Gary Cole, our photo director, in Detroit the year before. Our venue was at the Detroit City Airport Hangar. As I was leaving the walk-through with Gary, I pulled my rental car into slow-moving traffic. Some aggressive horns went off behind me; a few cars sped around me and stopped, blocking two lines. A few guys jumped out, yelling and waving their hands. They were upset. “Holy shit!” said Gary. “You’ve broken into a funeral procession.” I gave my best “Whaddya?” with my hands, a shrug, jammed into reverse, then forward, and sped off. I’ve been in my share of funeral processions in New York and had cars break it up, and it’s not a big deal. It is in Detroit, though.

Other good times: Being told by Kanye West that we had a great party thanks to high ceilings and DJ Sky Nellor. Watching girls rush a VIP cabana and dance in front of it because some guys showed up from some new show I’d never watched (turned out they were the stars of Grey’s Anatomy; the Entourage guys are similarly idolized at our events). At one point I found myself entertaining Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, chatting up Al Sharpton and introducing them to Joan Jett. Or sitting in between Jaime Pressly and Kelly Monaco, running short of small talk, and sweating out a reason to get up and go.

And I’ve gleaned one excellent piece of advice, albeit second-hand, from Hef. The Playboy crew and staff and Playmates generally all stay at one hotel. As the editor of the magazine, I don’t interact with the Playmates much once they’ve appeared in the magazine, though many of our ad sales and marketing people do as they build their careers. So the Super Bowl, for me, is a reunion of sorts—I looked forward to seeing Monica Leigh and Courtney Culkin from Long Island, plus Cara Zavaleta, Pilar Lastra, Penelope Jiminez, Hiromi Oshima and Tiffany Fallon. I think I was sitting around at the hotel talking to Pilar who joked about how Hef never called her by name but always called her darlin’—and other Playmates chimed in and concurred. Even though I am atrociously bad at names, I had a laugh at that, too. Of course, the night of the party when they were all in costume, I put my newly solidified friendships to the test. “Hey Cara!” I said. “You idiot, I’m Pilar!” she told me. And as if that wasn’t enough, I proceeded to screw up a few more names.

So from now on, I’m sticking with darlin'. See you in Phoenix.