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Steve Brill Steps Down As Editor Of Magazine

By Howard Kurtz
Friday, February 4, 2000; Page C02

Steve Brill stepped down yesterday as editor of the magazine that bears his name, saying he would give up day-to-day direction of Brill's Content to concentrate on his new Internet venture.

The move came a day after Brill was criticized for joining forces with CBS, NBC and magazine publisher Primedia, among others, in announcing Contentville.com, a Web site that will sell books, e-books, magazines, academic works and other material.

"I need to try to cut back to 12-hour days," said Brill, the high-profile, often controversial founder of Court TV. "It's not like I'm not going to be involved in the editing."

He says he wants to do more writing and develop a television venture, and that it would be "cleaner" if he wasn't making "editorial decisions that could involve the same people I'm dealing with on a business level."

David Kuhn, a former Talk magazine editor who joined Contentville in November, will succeed Brill as editor of the media magazine and Web site. Brill remains chairman and CEO.

Brill says he is protecting against conflicts of interest for the magazine by requiring his corporate partners to sign a contractual agreement that Brill's Content and the Web site "shall have sole control over all editorial content" and that "no partner shall take any action that could compromise, directly or indirectly, the independence or the appearance of independence of Brill's Content."

Brill's Content, launched in June 1998, has a circulation of 290,000 but has been plagued by high turnover among editors and executives. Contentville, which launches later this year, plans to sell goods while using outside bookstore reviewers--such as Carla Cohen of Washington's Politics & Prose--to critique the literary offerings.

Brill acknowledged that bad reviews could hurt sales but said they would help build long-term credibility with customers.

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© 2000 The Washington Post Company

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