American Society of Magazine Editors

Thomas O. Ryder and Lewis Lapham to Receive Magazine Industry Lifetime Achievement Awards

November 20, 2006

Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) and American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) Will Honor Two Outstanding Magazine Industry Veterans With Lifetime Achievement Awards.

NEW YORK, NY (November 20, 2006)—Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) and American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) will honor two outstanding magazine industry veterans with their Lifetime Achievement Awards.  Thomas O. Ryder, Chairman of the Board, The Readers Digest Association, has been named recipient of the Henry Johnson Fisher Award, in honor of Henry Johnson Fisher, founding publisher of Popular Science.  Lewis Lapham, National Correspondent of Harper's Magazine, will be inducted into the Magazine Editors Hall of Fame. The announcement was made today by Nina Link, President & CEO, MPA, and Marlene Kahan, Executive Director, ASME.  The awards will be presented at a special lunchtime event, Thursday, February 1, at Gotham Hall in New York City.

Tom Ryder is one of the magazine industrys most committed and warm-hearted executives, said Link.  With nearly 40 years of magazine publishing experience, his storied career has threaded its way through some of the most treasured brands in the industry.  The ranks of our industry are filled with hundreds of people Tom has taught or mentored.  As one of the longest-serving members of the Board of Directors as well as past Chairman of MPA, he was a leading voice sounding the all-important battle cry of audience engagement. He also championed greater industry commitment to diversity hiring and staff development. We are thrilled to honor him.

For three decades, Lewis Lapham has maintained a commitment to the highest standards of editorial excellence that many aspire to but few achieve, said Marlene Kahan, Executive Director of ASME.  He is a remarkable editor, writer and intellectual thinker who greatly influences the national conversation.  During his tenure, Lewis not only mentored an impressive list of editors, he brought some of the most distinguished names in American letters into the pages of Harpers, among them Tom Wolfe, David Foster Wallace and Mary Gaitskill.  Countless bestselling books have sprung from articles first published in the magazine, most recently Barbara Ehrenreichs Nickel and Dimed and James McManuss Positively Fifth Street. We are pleased to honor this great editor who has made a difference in and beyond the world of magazines.

Both recipients will receive honorariums to donate to a charity of their choice.  Ryder will receive an honorarium of $10,000 from Popular Sciences parent company, Time4 Media, a division of Time Inc.  Lapham will receive an honorarium of $10,000 from Quad/Graphics, the largest privately-held printing company in the world. 

Chairman of the Board
The Readers Digest Association, Inc.

With nearly four decades of experience in magazine publishing, Thomas O. Ryders distinguished career ranks among the top in the industry and his achievements among the most significant.  As Chairman of the company that publishes the worlds most widely read magazine Readers Digest he is responsible for a total global circulation of almost 40 million and well over 100 million readers in 60+ countries with company sales of $2.4 billion.  During the course of his career, Mr. Ryder has been publisher of or responsible for the publishers of more than 100 magazines, including some of Americas best known titles such as Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine, Field & Stream, American Photographer, Departures, Road & Track, Taste of Home, My Weekly Reader, Current Events, Learning, and The Family Handyman.

In 1998, Mr. Ryder took on the greatest challenge of his career when he accepted the position of Chairman and CEO of Readers Digest Association.  The company had endured financial reversals and executive-level turmoil, and he was given the daunting task of turning around this venerable American publishing icon.  Despite many challenges, what transpired over the next seven years was a textbook turnaround.  His accomplishments included sweeping re-engineering of the companys traditional businesses; a worldwide employee outreach to effect culture change and encourage innovation; as well as strategic initiatives to build for the future through acquisitions, start-ups and marketing alliances.  He acquired several companies including Books Are Fun, and Reiman Publications, publisher of the nations largest-selling food magazine.  Mr. Ryder also led a move to recapitalize the company and create a new one-share, one-voting structure, which he followed by doubling the dividend to shareholders.  

Prior to joining Readers Digest, Mr. Ryder served in a number of key executive roles at American Express.  He joined the company in 1984 as President of the American Express Publishing Company.  He published Travel & Leisure magazine, acquired Food & Wine magazine and directed the launch of Departures and Your Company magazines.  He also founded the Aspen Food & Wine Classic.  He subsequently became President of American Express Worldwide Publishing and Direct Marketing Businesses, President of Establishment Services Worldwide and was President of Travel Related Services International before joining Readers Digest.

Before American Express, Mr. Ryder was Senior Vice President at CBS Magazines, where he was responsible for strategy and acquisitions and group publisher for a wide range of special interest magazines.

Mr. Ryder started his career at Time Inc. in the circulation department at Life Magazine in 1966.  He left in 1968 to work for Xerox Education Publications where he became publisher of My Weekly Reader and a group of magazines and newspapers for children with combined circulations in excess of 20 million. 

In 1972, he launched Education Today Company, Inc., which published Learning Magazine and created books and training programs for teachers and school administrators.  In 1975 he co-founded The Stanford Publishing Course, where Mr. Ryder helped teach some 3,000 people the principles of publishing.

Mr. Ryder is a member of the Board of Directors of and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.  He is a former Chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America and a former board member of the American Association of Publishers and the Direct Marketing Association. 

Mr. Ryder was graduated from Louisiana State University with a B.A. in Journalism in 1966. 


National Correspondent
Harper's Magazine

Lewis Lapham is National Correspondent of Harper's Magazine. Born January 8, 1935, in San Francisco, California; educated at the Hotchkiss School, Yale University (B.A., 1956) and Cambridge University; newspaper reporter for The San Francisco Examiner (1957-1959) and for The New York Herald Tribune (1960-1962); managing editor of Harper's Magazine (1971-1975); editor of Harper's Magazine (1976-1981 and 1983-2006); National Correspondent of Harper's Magazine (2006-present). Syndicated newspaper columnist (1981-1987).

Mr. Lapham is the author of several books of essays (Fortune's Child, Money and Class in America, Imperial Masquerade, Hotel America, Waiting for the Barbarians, Gag Rule, and Theater of War) which have prompted the New York Times to liken him to H. L. Mencken, Vanity Fair to suggest a strong resemblance to Mark Twain, and Tom Wolfe to compare him to Montaigne. His latest book, Pretensions to Empire, was just published by The New Press. He is currently at work developingLaphams Quarterly, a history journal which will launch in 2007.

Lapham writes the "Notebook" column for Harper's Magazine. He won a 1995 National Magazine Award for three of those essays, in which the judges discovered "an exhilarating point of view in an age of conformity." He has also written for Life, Commentary, National Review, The Yale Literary Magazine, Elle, Fortune, Forbes, The American Spectator, Vanity Fair, Travel and Leisure Golf, Golf Digest, Parade, Channels, Maclean's, The London Observer, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Lapham has lectured at many of the nation's leading universities, among them Yale, Princeton, Stanford and the Universities of Michigan, Virginia and Oregon. He is a frequent guest on television and radio talk shows both in the United States and in England, France, Canada, Germany and Australia. He was the host and author of the six-part documentary series "America's Century," broadcast on public television in the United States and in England on Channel Four in the autumn of 1989. Between 1989 and 1991 he was the host and Executive Editor of "Bookmark," a weekly public television series seen on over 150 stations nationwide. He wrote and performed in "The American Ruling Class," a documentary feature that premiered at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Lapham is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations, The Century Club, the Advisory Council to the New School University and Chair of the Board for The Americans for Libraries Council. He lives in New York City.

The Henry Johnson Fisher Award, established in 1964, recognizes individuals who have made significant and longstanding contributions to the magazine publishing industry and society, and who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership, skill and understanding in support of the industry. Henry Johnson Fisher was Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Popular Science Publishing Company.  Previous winners have included Cathie P. Black, President of Hearst Magazines; Patrick McGovern, International Data Group; William T. Kerr, Meredith Corporation; Edward Lewis, Essence Communications Partners; and Hugh M. Hefner, Playboy.

The Magazine Editors' Hall of Fame Award, established by ASME in 1995, recognizes career-long achievement, excellence and impact of a select group of highly influential magazine editors.  Previous winners have included William F. Buckley, National Review; Norman Pearlstine, Time Inc.; Arthur Cooper, GQ; Susan Taylor, Essence; and Stephen Shepard, BusinessWeek.