Media titan Samuel ‘Si’ Newhouse dead at 89 – Entertainment

S.I. Newhouse Jr., the low-profile billionaire media mogul who ran the parent company of some of the nation’s most prestigious magazines, died Sunday. He was 89.

Newhouse’s death was confirmed by his family, who said he died at his New York home.

The chairman of Condé Nast since 1975, Si Newhouse, as he was known, bought and remade The New Yorker and Details magazines and revived Vanity Fair. Other magazines in the Conde Nast stable included Vogue, Wired, Glamour, W, GQ, and Self.

Centre of ‘cultural conversation’

The glossy titles helped set the nation’s tastes, reached millions of aspirational readers and appealed to upscale advertisers.

“In all realms, he wanted Condé Nast — and its writers, artists and editors — to be at the centre of the cultural conversation,” Bob Sauerberg, the company’s CEO, wrote to staff in announcing Newhouse’s death.

As Newhouse himself put it in a rare 1988 interview with The New York Times, “Our magazines represent a certain tone and audience.”

Under Newhouse, Condé Nast was famously extravagant, paying editors huge salaries, throwing lavish parties and rarely sticking to budgets — if budgets existed at all. Its expense accounts were legendary, with dresses flown from Paris to New York on the Concorde and elephants brought in to menace models at fashion shoots.

The Conde Nast chairman leaves a news conference in 2011 in New York. “Our magazines represent a certain tone and audience,” he once said in a rare interview. (Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press)

Passionate about journalism

“He was passionate about journalism and he supported journalists and editors,” his nephew Steven Newhouse, who is the chairman of Advance Publications Inc., which owns Conde Nast, told The Associated Press. “He set an example of caring about the right things in media, which is great stories, great design, great magazines, great websites.”

Newhouse’s vision extended beyond magazines. Before selling the Random House book…

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