When Janice Min took over as editor of Us Weekly in 2003, the weekly magazine was "hemorrhaging money" (her words) and focused almost exclusively on television and movie actors. By the time she left in 2009, she had made the publication a must-read among the celebrity weeklies, adding coverage that made celebrities much more relatable to her readers and doubling Us Weekly's circulation in the process.

All of this bodes well for E5 Global Media Chief Executive Richard Beckman, who today (May 26) named Min the editorial director of the storied The Hollywood Reporter brand. (E5 is the private equity group that purchased The Hollywood Reporter and other brands including Billboard from The Nielsen Company in January of this year.)

In her first interview since the appointment, Min sat with Billboard's editorial director Bill Werde to answer questions about her vision for The Hollywood Reporter, her background as an editor and yes, even Nikki Finke.

Bill Werde: Why don't you just start out telling me what was appealing about this job offer? There was a lot of speculation about where you'd land after you left Us Weekly. Why this? Why now?

Janice Min: I have to say, after I met Richard [Beckman] and we talked about it, I was completely sold. The vision he laid out for The Hollywood Reporter was really exciting to me and I loved the idea of reestablishing something from the ground up -- and for something that I feel strongly has a huge amount of potential. If you look at the space as it exists now, there seems to be a huge opportunity for The Hollywood Reporter to grow and dominate and really start reaching this wide audience of influencers that I feel already read The Hollywood Reporter, but now will become completely addicted to it.

BW: The Hollywood Reporter is not a publication that is without its challenges. Readership is down and its perception in media has been a little bit adrift. What do you see as your first and most immediate task at hand?

JM: The first task would be to really think about the edit -- how to make it more engaging for its audience. I can speak a little bit about my experience during the months before at Us Weekly. When I joined Us Weekly, it was hemorrhaging money. It was one of the most eaten up titles in the press. It was a serious also-ran. I think being able to really improve the edit and think about how to connect with the audience in a more engaging way produced really fast results, and that's what I'm expecting will happen here.

BW: Do you anticipate a different audience for The Hollywood Reporter than the one that currently reads it?

JM: I would say not different, but broader.

BW: Broader? Who do you hope to have reading the publication that doesn't read it right now?

JM: I think right now, it is strictly trade whose reading this. I think there is a larger audience of influential people out there who are impacted by the subject that The Hollywood Reporter would cover and will cover. I think that whole idea of [the] influence that Hollywood has over a lot of different areas is important to tons of industries. I'd like to think of the person reading The Hollywood Reporter as the first to know. It's the people for whom information is current to. They don't want to find out from their assistant or from their friends. They need too know, and that to me is the group that should be reading The Hollywood Reporter. And I think there will be some consumers who come along with that also.

I think we are living in an age where box office grosses are important to regular people; the Conan-Leno debacle was essentially a trade story that became a consumer story. People know who Ari Emanuel is thanks to "Entourage." I think you could almost say that this is a byproduct of celebrity culture, but the whole, but there's a lot more interest in I guess 'how the sausage is made,' you know, the behind-the-scenes players. I don't think anyone will be surprised to know there are just tons of interesting personalities and players that put out entertainment day in and day out that you consume.

BW: There are those who would say you were phenomenally successful at creating a celebrity weekly consumer magazine, but that The Hollywood Reporter is a very different world in terms of focus and in terms of the business reporting aspects. What is your response to that notion?

JM: I would say I was an accidental participant in celebrity culture. I mean, it was just sort of the nature of the jobs that were available to me that I took that I became involved in that world. Yeah, my path led me that way, and at various times there were different ways I could have gone on my path that I didn't take, and I feel lucky I was part of a moment of time. I'd like to think I helped create a moment of time that helped define an era of pop culture.

But I think at Us Weekly, what I did -- it wasn't about my own fandom or my own obsession with these celebrities and these topics or reality television. It was really my ... I felt like I had a good ability as an editor just to hone in on what was interesting, who out there in the marketplace was being underserved, and what the moment was and where the niche was. That to me is the essence of all beat reporting, to find the most interesting stories, the most interesting people, and be on top of the news. I think those skills as an editor apply to any beat you're on.

I also think that at Us Weekly, for example, I did -- God knows what -- seven episodes of "The Hills" on the cover before I even watched an episode of "The Hills"? To me, it was just my best skills as an editor would be that I can listen really well to the people on the staff, listen really well to outsiders, and really sort of help pinpoint what the moment is and what the stories are we should be covering.

BW: Would that be your first challenge as the editor? For you to get to know all the players and the issues to be able to do that sort of pinpointing?

JM: Sure. I'm expecting a learning curve. A really short and fast learning curve. In whatever area, in whatever beat you happen to be covering as an editor, whether it's finance or sports or in this case, Hollywood, you definitely figure out ... you figure out who the people are you need to know, the people who are important, what the important stories are that are being under-covered and underserved. So I think I probably know more about the industry than the average editor coming off the street, but absolutely there will be a learning curve.

BW: What do you see are the assets of The Hollywood Reporter right now, sort of as you walk in?

JM: The Hollywood Reporter has probably one of the greatest names in entertainment. It's a great title. It's a title that has flexibility to allow for expansion. It has a Web site that's fully operational, that I expect to take off; it will take over even more. It has a lot of good will in the community. It's the go-to place. It's already an industry must-read, so I think when you look at and you think about Hollywood and how it's perceived by the outside world, and I just think that the name carries a lot of weight with people who follow the industry, that it's really synonymous with this.

BW: But do you think there's a perception of the brand having lacked buzz.

JM I think there are publications you read dutifully because as someone in the industry, you don't want to miss something -- you want to make sure you know what's going on. And then there are publications that you can't wait to read. If you were to think of, let's say, Us Weekly, as an example of that, you want those women on Wednesday morning bothering their newsstand person, waiting for the truck to arrive. And so I think the goal with The Hollywood Reporter is to take it from a dutiful must-read to an absolutely must read.

BW: And what are some of your specific ideas to do that?

JM: I think that part of the trade press and I think part of why it can be sometimes confused as dreary is a lot of it's really picayune. It's sort of, "This deal got signed. This person moved agencies." You know, "Movie release date pushed back here. Actor you've never heard of signs onto CW pilot." I think there is this sort of obligatory feel to a lot of the coverage, and those things you have to do because that's sort of the bread and butter of what the trade needs to know. I'd like to think there's room there for a real news agenda, for a real news imperative and that a title like Hollywood Reporter could be setting the agenda.

BW: Tell me a little bit about what kind of role you see for the Web site. How does that fit into your strategic vision for The Hollywood Reporter?

JM: The Web couldn't be more important. Obviously, you see where the people in the industry are consuming their news right now and I give kudos to Nikki Finke and Sharon Waxman for really invigorating what some would have called a moribund category, that they have actually created a competitive environment again. So obviously we want to compete on the hourly breaking news, but also there is room there for sort of a much more professionally, fully fleshed-out entertainment site. And we're making a very significant investment in that to ensure that happens.

BW: Do you see Nikki Fink and Sharon Waxman, for example, as bigger competitors to your future than you do say, Variety?

JM: I think anything covering the entertainment space is a competitor. I also see it being collaborative. I think the very nature of the Web is collaborative. So do I want Hollywood Reporter to be the biggest, best at everything? Yeah, absolutely. But I think in looking at the landscape, I think we have to consider all entertainment press as part of the competitive landscape.

BW: What would the people who worked under you at Us Weekly be telling the Hollywood Reporter staff right now in terms of what to expect?

JM: [Laughs] They would say, "She eats the same lunch almost every single day." I would go through these horrible bouts of being stuck on the same lunch. But I think they would say, "Absolutely speak up." That she liked people who have great ideas. You can walk into her office at any time with a great idea, whether you're an assistant or the number two," and, "she also really likes straightforward people. Not a lot of patience for people who don't play nicely in the office." But also, I think that they would probably say they were always very clear on what I wanted, that there wasn't a lot of handwringing that went on about, "Should we be doing this or that?"

BW: Did you read The Hollywood Reporter before a few weeks ago?

JM: I read it on a need-to-know basis, if I heard a story.

BW: And in terms of what Richard Beckman has prepared you for, how did he describe your role?

JM: To make it a must-read.

BW: Your last boss was Jann Wenner. You found a way to create a lot of success working for, in Jann's case, someone who was kind of known for not always being a shrinking violet as it relates to what that editorial director should be doing. What was that dynamic with Jann and might it prepare you in some way for this position?

JM: It's funny. When I left Us Weekly, Jann ... you know, we had this little misty-eyed meeting, and he said to me, "I can't believe in seven years we never had a single fight."

BW: How did you do that?

JM: You know, I like working with Jann. Jann kind of had a lot of strong opinions and he will ... if you have a strong opinion too, you could sort of have a reasonable discussion with him. And sometimes he would stick to his guns and sometimes after telling you he was quite certain of his way, he would say, "OK. You're right. Good idea." And I think ultimately, what really succeeds with Jann is when it doesn't become a clash of ego but really sort of a collaborative, "Let's try to make this the best thing possible" effort. I feel like we did that really well there, and I'm definitely not one of those people who would ever think like, "Oh, that person above me know nothing. I know everything," and I think he also, with Us Weekly, realized that he might not know a lot about Heidi and Spencer and Kim Kardashian, and that maybe some of those decisions were best left to the Us Weekly staff. And for better or worse, I knew how to speak 'Kardashian.'

Also, we just had fun. I don't think a meeting went by with Jann where we didn't laugh about something, and in the end it really was just "let's try to put out a really successful magazine together." So I think that outsiders would be surprised to learn about how much freedom I had there. I think though, I earned that freedom. I think compared to probably, like my first six months with Jann versus my last six months with Jann, he definitely wanted to make sure that I knew what I was doing in those first six months.

BW: Anything else you'd like to add?

JM: I think maybe I should just say don't expect radical staff changes right away. For a staff that's undergone five rounds of layoffs, I'm not looking to create more instability.

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