‘Wall Street Journal’ Launches High-End Mag At Boastful Breakfast

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By: Joe Strupp

For most in the upscale magazine world, “Tina” refers to Tina Brown, the outspoken veteran of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and others.

But another Tina appears ready to make her name known: one Tina Gaudoin, the new top editor at “WSJ,” The Wall Street Journal’s blatantly high-end publication slated for a September first issue.

Gaudoin and others from the luxury magazine showed off their new weekend read at a breakfast gathering at Manhattan’s CORE:club. Gaudoin comes to the U.S. from The Times of London, another News Corp. publication. There, she oversaw LUXX, that paper’s upper-income magazine.

During today’s morning event, which included a video presentation, gift bags, and a spread of coffee, pastries, and continental breakfast cuisine, Gaudoin showed a mix of confidence, wit and a slight smarm for her new American surroundings.

Some sound bites:

?On WSJ’s purpose: “We intend to make ‘WSJ’ the authority on luxury and wealth. Advice on everything from buying a new automobile to commissioning artwork.”

?On her approach that the magazine should be fun to put together: “That may be a bit of a shock to the people at the Journal.”

?On the question of whether her main competition will be “T,” The New York Times Style Magazine: “I don?t believe that. ‘T’ is very New York-based. We are less gritty. One of the things that will characterize us is a sense of humor.”

?On what kind of paper stock the magazine will use: “really thick and expensive.”

In the video presentation and in comments by herself, Dow Jones Consumer Media Group Senior Vice President Michael Rooney, and Journal Managing Editor Marcus Brauchli, it was clear the new magazine is aiming to reach the highest levels of luxury, fashion and, of course, wealth.

“The world of the Journal reader outside the office is rich and rewarding,” Gaudoin said, adding that that does not mean such luxury is only available to the wealthiest. She contended that “today, luxury is available to all, to everybody if you like.”

For the dozens of guests, many of them would-be advertisers and readers, such an outlook likely eased concerns that the publication could be too high-end.

Although it was in the works well before News Corp. took over Dow Jones, Rooney made clear this was an important launch as the first Journal project created under the new ownership. “The first brand extension that will take place,” he said. “The mission is for it to become the highest quality, most appealing luxury publication of its time.”

With a Saturday publication day, the magazine will be distributed to 967,000 Journal readers, including 800,000 in the United States. It will be circulated within the Saturday Journal, first on a quarterly basis, then monthly in 2009.

It was clear at the breakfast that it’s not competing with the likes of Parade or USA Weekend. In another nod to the advertiser guests, Brauchli went on to recite the staggering spending habits of Journal readers, and hopefully for them soon-to-be-“WSJ” readers. Some $3.5 billion last year, including $2 billion on jewelry and watches.

When the issue of the current and possibly worsening recession came up, Gaudoin said it would not affect the magazine’s success: “Most research points to the fact that even in a recession, people spend.”

“The launch of ‘WSJ’ represents the most important leap of the Journal and its brand in a long time,” said Brauchli, who is nearing the end of his first year at the helm. Citing Gaudoin’s success as the creator of Europe’s largest yoga center, Brauchli added: “we are hoping she can bring some Zen to the newsroom of The Wall Street Journal.”

Rooney said the magazine would have a 50/50 ad-edit ratio. They also named Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio publisher. She is a luxury marketing consultant who spent 17 years at American Express Publishing, most recently as senior vice president and publisher of “Travel + Leisure.”

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