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You Don’t Know Much About Jay Penske. And He’s Fine With That.

Ten Penske Media staff interviewed for this text describe their boss as somebody who stepped up for publications in bother. “Jay Penske got here in and saved this enterprise,” mentioned Dea Lawrence, the chief working and advertising officer of Selection. “He’s a hero to the publishing world.” His firm has greater than 1,350 staff, in response to the Penske Media vice chairman Gerry Byrne, almost half of them journalists and content material creators.

After the corporate purchased a controlling stake in Vibe and Billboard, which have workplaces in New York, he flew there to satisfy with every new worker. “This was in the midst of the pandemic, and so I believed, ‘Wow, this man is critical!’” mentioned Datwon Thomas, the editor in chief of Vibe. Mr. Thomas met Mr. Penske for lunch at Bryant Park Grill in Midtown. “Jay knew loads about me and my background,” he mentioned, “and he knew loads about Vibe.” 4 different Penske Media staff mentioned that Mr. Penske makes a observe of assembly with every of his new staff quickly after buying a property.

Mr. Penske will typically play hardball with the workers. When Tatiana Siegel, a longtime Hollywood Reporter journalist, accepted a job at The Ankler, a subscription publication began by the present enterprise author Richard Rushfield that has expanded beneath the previous Hollywood Reporter high editor Janice Min, Mr. Penske put a cease to the transfer. Ms. Siegel’s contract included a noncompete clause, and Mr. Penske held her to it. The events finally agreed that Ms. Siegel would decamp to Rolling Stone, committing 80 p.c of her work to it, with the rest going to The Ankler.

“Jay has been by far the most effective proprietor I’ve labored beneath at The Hollywood Reporter,” mentioned Ms. Siegel, who joined the journal in 2003. “My scenario was distinctive, and it was resolved amicably.”

The upstart publications Puck and The Ankler pose a brand new menace to Penske Media’s maintain on leisure protection. The competitors is harking back to what occurred greater than a decade in the past, when Deadline had the previous guard quaking. Mr. Rushfield mentioned that start-ups could have a bonus over entrenched publications, as a result of they aren’t beholden to anybody.

“In case you’re at a publication like Selection, for instance, the variety of issues a studio has over you is tough to maintain monitor of,” Mr. Rushfield mentioned. “You want pleasant entry to studio executives and brokers present wrapping your scoops. You want individuals for covers. You want individuals to talk at your conferences.” The outcome, he continued, is that “publications with completely different enterprise fashions, and extra aggressive reporting, can elbow their means in.”

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