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Inside.com editor leaves for Viacom

Michael Hirschorn, editor in chief of the online publication, has signed on as a senior executive at Viacom-owned VH1, the music cable network says.

Inside.com Editor in Chief Michael Hirschorn has signed on as a senior executive at Viacom-owned VH1, the music cable network said Tuesday.

Hirschorn, who was a co-founder and co-chairman of Inside.com's parent company, Powerful Media--recently bought by Brill Media Holdings--will become VH1's senior vice president of news and production. The move will become effective in the next couple of weeks, according to a VH1 representative.

Hirschorn's departure from the online publication, which covers the media and entertainment industry, comes as the site, like other Internet publishers, wrestles with formulating a financial model that will sustain the business during extreme economic pressures. Many ad-supported sites have turned to subscriptions as a potential remedy to a downturn in the online advertising industry.

Inside.com earlier this month started charging consumers $3.95 a month for access to most of its site. The company had already charged $19.95 a month for premium services such as its "Inside Dope" and "Big News" columns, but most of its articles previously had been available for free.

Despite financial uncertainty, Inside.com has received acclaim. Last week, it won "best news site" at the 2001 Webby Awards, the Internet industry's equivalent to the Oscars.

Hirschorn, who has worked at such publications as Esquire, Spin, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, will oversee the development of VH1 daily news and documentaries, as well as coordinate efforts between the cable network and Web site.

Hirschorn "will help us become a trusted resource in music news for the VH1 audience, both on-air and online," said Fred Graver, executive vice president of programming and production at VH1, who will oversee Hirschorn.

VH1 is owned by MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom.