The success of this column allowed Pulitzer to develop her own newsletter, The Cyber Scene, which currently goes out to more than 50,000 readers. The weekly newsletter tracks the events, companies, people and culture in "wired" towns around the world. Pulitzer's own glamorous lifestyle was chronicled in a BusinessWeek article, "Six Parties a Night? It's a Living." Addressing a desire to get together with friends in the industry, Pulitzer planned her Cocktails with Courtney events once a month in New York City. Soon, requests for her to host similar events poured in to Pulitzer from across the United States and Canada. All this is under the corporate umbrella of Courtney Pulitzer Creations, of which she is president.
After the events of Sept. 11, Pulitzer's life changed dramatically. Her home and offices near Ground Zero were damaged. The New York party circuit evaporated overnight; suddenly, there wasn't a scene to report. She left New York, then quickly got married and divorced.
Pulitzer is a frequent source for many news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, BusinessWeek, Red Herring, The New Yorker, The Industry Standard, Business 2.0, "Live With Regis & Kelly" and CNN.
Bankrate: What new projects do you have in the works?
Courtney Pulitzer: I started up the events again, the Cocktails with Courtney; I had one last night. I will be having one event a month till the end of the year. Then, in January, I'll be hosting a black-tie event to benefit tech nonprofits in New York City. I've started the newsletter again, free subscription through www.pulitzer.com, and I have a book project. It's going to be my perspective on Silicon Alley. It's autobiographical, but focuses on what happened in New York. I might go ahead and self-publish it. I'm not worried about it becoming a bestseller; I want to get the story out.
Bankrate: Even with the dot-com bust, more people are on the Internet than ever. Will the companies return to having their big parties?
Courtney Pulitzer: I'm hearing about events more and more. They're not blow-out parties like they used to be. You're seeing parties for the trade organizations. The West Coast -- L.A. -- is big for networking. I have friends in Denver who tell me it's picking up there again.
Bankrate: You went through hard times with the dot-com bust and living right near the World Trade Center after Sept. 11. Yet, all of your contacts probably thought you should still be racing to parties in limousines all the time. How do you suggest people cope with keeping up an image in hard times?
Courtney Pulitzer: It's personal, how each person decides to do that. It was clear that after the people died in the World Trade Center and after hundreds of people were laid off, I couldn't be writing about the latest cocktail party. I sort of retreated, a lot of people did. If I did an event, it was more based on a topic, like global issues. I don't know what other people's expectations were, but you have to change with the times. It's about sensitivity. I didn't have the time or energy to go about business as usual. I was in survival mode. Everyone feels really burned about that era on so many levels.
Bankrate: You've always been careful to say you are not a direct descendant of the Pulitzer publishing clan, but many people think you are. That name is magical in the publishing world. Why go out of your way to dispel the rumors?
Pulitzer: It's because there's so much confusion, people have assumptions
of me, that I got where I did because of the name. I don't have a Paris Hilton
situation. I am distantly related to the Joseph Pulitzer, of the publishers. My
great-great grandfather was a cousin to him. It was bugging me though, that everyone
kept focusing on it. And they got it wrong, too. They said I was Joseph Pulitzer's
granddaughter. If I were, I'd be in my 60s or 70s, living in a retirement community
in Florida. I think anyone following in the footsteps of a famous ancestor has
a difficult road. Unless, of course, you're trying to ride on their coattails.
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