Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Condé’s Going-Away Present for Fired Portfolio Editor: A Book Party

After announcing staff cuts yesterday, Condé Nast’s Portfolio has begun handing out pink slips. I’ve been told the following people are out so far:

Ken Wells is the most high-profile name of bunch. He’s a Pulitzer finalist and a longtime Wall Street Journal vet (like many of Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman’s hires).

He’s also a prolific author; his most recent book, “The Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous: Fighting to Save a Way of Life in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina,” came out last month. Portfolio hosted a book party for him just this week, an incredulous colleague tells me.

Meanwhile, employees at still don’t know who’s staying and who’s going. One of them tells me that half the 23-person staff will be let go at the end of November and the rest will stay through December.

At that point there will be a skeleton crew of three people, though there is unconfirmed talk that Condé may end up keeping at least a couple high-profile bloggers, like media reporter Jeff Bercovici and financial columnist Felix Salmon.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik