NEW YORK (AP) — 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 Conde 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.
The glossy titles helped set the nation’s tastes, reached millions of aspirational readers and appealed to upscale advertisers.
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“In all realms, he wanted Conde Nast — and its writers, artists and editors — to be at the center 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, Conde 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.
“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 publishing empire, he spotted a magazine profile about a rising young real estate mogul and commissioned the first book of a future president:…