As editor-at-large of Fortune magazine, Pattie Sellers thinks of power as an ability to impact with a purpose. She established Fortune's Most Powerful Women in Business and its annual Most Powerful Women Summit and was in Kathmandu last week for a program organised by the We for Women group, where Nepali Times talked to her. Excerpts:
Nepali Times: What makes Fortune different from other magazines like Forbes or BusinessWeek?
Pattie Sellers: Fortune is a broader and more beautiful magazine than either of those two because Forbes is more of an investor's magazine and BusinessWeek is a weekly business magazine. Fortune focuses on the top companies and the CEOs of those companies and also on how business and politics interact, how business and the environment interact. We believe that business intersects with everything in the world and we try and write about that intersection.
How do you maintain the wall of separation between the advertisers and editorial content?
Fortune is owned by Time Inc which is the largest magazine company in the world. We talk at Time Inc about separation of church and state, we write very negative stories about some of our big advertisers - whether it is the biggest auto companies or computer companies and their CEOs who get into trouble. One of the companies we've been very critical about is Time Warner which owns Time Inc and ultimately owns Fortune. We've done very hard-hitting stories about Time Warner, especially when Time Warner and AOL merged two years ago which was a disastrous merger. So it really doesn't make a difference to the editorial content.
How is online journalism affecting magazines like yours and how have you adapted to the change?
We have to face the reality that the print media business is not growing as digital media is. We have fortune.com but luckily for us, we are also part of cnnmoney.com, which is a part of Time Warner and a very successful website. It's thriving and fast-growing, so what we've lost in advertising on the print side we gain on the digital side, so as a franchise Fortune is actually very healthy.
We have learned a lot about Fortune 500 companies. How do you select them?
In the Fortune 500 we rank companies according to the revenues they generate. So this year's number one company is Exxon Mobil because its revenue is the biggest. But we have all sorts of information like profits, market capitalisation, number of employees, return on investments and so on about the companies, but the ranking is basically done by revenues.
Do you intend to bring out editions in China and India and other emerging markets?
We just announced the launch of Fortune India in Delhi last week. We have customised editions like our Asian and European editions but Fortune India is very special and unusual for us because it's actually an Indian edition that we are going to start. We are doing this because India is such an exciting and fast growing market. We want to invest in India.
Why are you in Nepal and what was your first impression of it?
I had met Aashmi Rana of We for Women (WfW), a group of Nepali women working for the empowerment of women in a mentorship program earlier this year. Because I would be in India for the Fortune Gobal Forum she insisted that I come to Nepal. Also, I have friends from the US who are working in remote villages of Nepal so I'm here to see them as well. My first impression was flying in and seeing all the beautiful mountains and green valleys and it was stunning. I think Kathmandu is beautiful and fascinating and this definitely has been the highlight of my trip, being in Nepal. I also never imagined that women in Nepal and India would be so dynamic, courageous and inspiring.