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American Media, New York Exit Mag Org


THE crisis that has rocked the nation's magazine publishers is also affecting its chief lobbying group, putting its president and CEO in the crosshairs.

The Magazine Publishers of America has lost as members Elle publisher Hachette Filipacchi Media; Star and National Enquirer publisher American Media; and most recently New York magazine.

"At the time we were asked to rejoin MPA for 2009, we knew the industry was going to have a difficult year and that we would have to allocate our resources carefully," said a New York spokeswoman, who added the mag hopes to return to the MPA in the future.

Hachette and American Media were each paying somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000 in annual dues, sources said. New York Media paid less money.

Those dues are about equal to the $740,000 that MPA President and CEO Nina Link takes home each year, which has become a lightening rod among some magazine publishers.

Conflict over what Link is paid began at last fall's American Magazine Conference in San Francisco, when more than a few participants complained openly that the CEO's salary was excessive.

"Everybody was kind of shocked by the salary," said one source. "They were wondering what the three-quarters of a million dollars was getting them. There is a sense that Nina hasn't represented the MPA all that well."

Added another executive, "Nobody has effectively conveyed what magazines do for their advertisers and how they interact with readers."

One booster said that much of the MPA work is behind the scenes, lobbying in such key areas as postal rates and the tax deductibility of advertising expenses.

To be sure, the grumbling in the ranks apparently did not reach the board level, which recently approved a new contract for Link.

"Nina has done an excellent job, and her salary is consistent with that of the head of other media groups," said John Q. Griffin, the president of the Na tional Geographic So ciety's Publishing Group and the current MPA chairman.

Nobody expects the big guns such as Time Inc., Condé Nast or Hearst to follow AMI or Hachette out the door.

In fact, it was during Hearst Magazines President Cathie Black's run as MPA chairman that Link was first hired. Black had championed her cause.




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