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“He Can Go from a B Player to an A Player”: At Rolling Stone, Ryan Lizza Is Writing, Jann and Gus Wenner Are Still Kicking Around, and Jay Penske Is the Media Tycoon du Jour

By Vanity Fair

Jay Penske, the scion of an auto-racing empire, has a legitimate shot to turn the baby-boomer culture bible around—if he can make it safe for millennialsRead full story

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  • "[O]ne of the things that had been weighing on the minds of PMC and other competing suitors was the prospect of ending up in bed with BandLab without being able to predict what sort of partner BandLab would be." This paragraph began with Penske "in the driver's seat" "manag[ing] three delicate relationships" with father, son, and minority partner. This is a crowded bed, especially given the driver's seat.

    But the most shocking thing here, apart from the Lizza hire, were the other new additions

    "[O]ne of the things that had been weighing on the minds of PMC and other competing suitors was the prospect of ending up in bed with BandLab without being able to predict what sort of partner BandLab would be." This paragraph began with Penske "in the driver's seat" "manag[ing] three delicate relationships" with father, son, and minority partner. This is a crowded bed, especially given the driver's seat.

    But the most shocking thing here, apart from the Lizza hire, were the other new additions to the office: coffee maker and vending machine. I get that the space, with its carpet and pale blue decor, was very 90s, but there was coffee and food in the 90s. Poor RS employees, how can we expect them to stop writing about the Eagles when they don't even have a coffee maker?

  • The alt headline asked if Penske can make Rolling Stone cool again. You could say it’s “punk rock” to take in Ryan Lizza after his #metoo departure from the New Yorker, but time will tell whether or not that’s “cool.” At least, after Jann, there’s no way he couldn’t make it younger.

  • They're trying to have it both ways with Lizza; they used him for freelance work but (supposedly) let a meeting with the female editorial staff determine whether or not he was officially hired.

    Penske does seem like an interesting anti-boss type boss, and he seems to be coming from a good place and have some good ideas. But I imagine there will be some staff at RS who will be very resistant to upcoming content shakeups, and I'm not just talking about Jann.

  • "...Penske...a rich kid with a self-made father... 'He’s going to work harder to prove he earned this than anyone else in this situation...'"

    Yeah, if there's one thing we know about rich kids with inherited wealth, it's that they work hard to prove that they earned the stuff they bought.

    And really, what's more rock and roll than that?!

  • I feel like any time anything low-tech that I grew up with is in jeopardy of extinction, my instinct is to scream, "Save it all costs!" That being said, it's been a while since I've purchased a Rolling Stone.

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