Time New Media Executive Steps Down

CobraBoy (tbyars@earthlink.net)
Sun, 27 Oct 1996 13:15:12 -0800


he Time Inc. executive responsible for Pathfinder and
other interactive
ventures announced his resignation on Friday. It is the
third major
departure from the company's new media operation in the
last year.

The executive, Paul Sagan, the company's editor for new
media, cited family
reasons for his resignation, which is effective at the end of
the year. A Time Inc.
statement emphasized the personal nature of Sagan's departure
and left
unresolved who would replace him.

In an interview, Sagan,
who is 37 years old,
insisted that there was no
rancor behind his
move, and said he believed
that Pathfinder
was already strong enough
to prosper next
year after he is gone.

"It was a decision made
over the last couple
of months by my wife and
me," Sagan said
of his departure. "I
really believe in new
media and our Web efforts,
but my family
only has one opportunity
to do this." He
said the family would
spend the first half of
next year living in Pitkin
County, Colo.,
and then 12 months in
Europe. And the
rental contract for the house is unbreakable, Sagan declared,
as a safeguard against
his ever turning back.

Sagan noted that he intended to make this commitment to his
family a long time
ago. But he stayed longer than expected at previous jobs, he
said, and time flowed
on. He and his wife have three children between the ages of 4
and 9.

After his 18-month sabbatical is ended, he will return to New
York, but not
necessarily to Time Inc., Sagan said. "I've been in a
business where green bananas
was considered long-term planning,'' he said. "New media will
be old media by
then and God knows what everybody will be into. I'll miss it
for a while, and I
might come back to it. I don't anticipate checking out on it.
But I'm certainly going
to shift my focus for a while."

Pathfinder, now two years old, has been a pioneer effort in
new media by an
established media giant. But in the last year the three
executives who oversaw its
development have moved on: Walter Isaacson, Time Inc.'s first
new media
editor, who became managing editor of Time magazine; James
Pathfinder's first managing editor, who is now general
manager of MSNBC
Online; and now Sagan.

Moreover, Time Warner's acquisition of Turner Broadcasting,
whose enterprises
include CNN Interactive, has changed the online landscape.
Sagan said Friday
that the two organizations would continue to operate
"coooperatively but
separately," and would "build products that are stronger than
we can do
individually," as they have done with the All Politics site.

In the Time Inc. statement, the company's chief executive,
Don Logan, and Time
Warner's editor-in-chief, Norman Pearlstine, said of Sagan:
"Paul has done an
exceptional job leading Time Inc.'s new media activities. We
want to thank him
for establishing us in that arena, most especially for the
extraordinary work he and
his colleagues have achieved in creating, developing and
nurturing Pathfinder.
We remain committed to new media.''

Last November, Logan described the Pathfinder venture as
"giving new definition
to the term 'black hole.'" He later said he regretted the

Sagan said in the interview that he thought he was leaving
the Web site "in really
great shape." Pathfinder is moving forward with its
subscription-based Personal
Edition, a customizable version that will be available
through CompuServe as
well as the Web, and also will begin selling "hard goods" on
the Web next year, he
said. Moreover, Sagan asserted that Pathfinder is enjoying
its "highest traffic and
revenue ever." He wouldn't say exactly how much money
Pathfinder is earning,
but said the site had 1.5 million visits last week. And he
defined a visit as a
unique user name initiating a session.

Sagan would not speculate about who would replace him. Nancy
Maloney, a
spokeswoman for Time Inc., said no decision had been made
about a replacement

Sagan joined Time Inc. New Media in January 1995 as senior
vice president and
was promoted to president and editor one year later. His work
at Time Inc. dates
back to 1993, when he was named managing editor of News on
experiments in interactive news delivery. He had been
recruited to Time Warner
in 1991 to create and launch New York 1 News, a 24-hour cable
TV news channel
devoted to New York City. Earlier, Sagan spent four years as
news director of
WCBS-TV in New York.


"The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand." ...Eric Schmidt, Sun Microsystems

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