By Bad Seed
40 UNDER 40: 2009
Tired of bad news? We are, too. So we asked this year's 40 Under 40 honorees to tell us something anything good. And they delivered, with tales of triumph over adversity, inspiration drawn from family and friends, good advice from mentors and lessons learned in this historic economic downturn. Read Jimmy Jellinek's profile below.
Growing up in Highland Park, Jimmy Jellinek stole copies of Playboy from his friend's dad.
Now, with ad sales at the magazine down 47% in the third quarter, Mr. Jellinek's job is to save the glossy he hankered for as a teenager.
He plans to play to a younger audience, a strategy seen in recent issues featuring a graphic novelization of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," and a cover sporting Marge Simpson. "We want you to be shocked, titillated, read great journalism, great fiction, and be 100% culturally literate," he says.
Mr. Jellinek says he always knew he wanted to be a journalist, editing the papers at his high school and college, where he majored in Russian history because "I was going to be the Time bureau chief in Moscow."
Instead, he launched his journalism career with a job as an assistant at Rolling Stone. "He's naturally plugged into the zeitgeist," says Stephen Colvin, who as president of Dennis Publishing USA hired Mr. Jellinek as editor of Stuff in 2005 and backed his promotion to editor of Maxim in 2006.
SOMETHING GOOD: "We're in the middle of a Darwinian extermination event for media, and when the dust settles, there will only be a few primates that will be able to climb out of the muck," he says. "Playboy will be one of them." Meantime, he says, "I get to do cool (stuff)."