Friday News Round-Up for October 19th

Hey, we’re all for seasonal favorites when it comes to food, but some ideas are just a bridge too far.  Comes word that Japanese Burger King restaurants currently are serving pumpkin burgers.  Think bacon burgers, but with lots of Jack-o-lantern slices added for good measure.  “Have it your way,” right?  Hmmm.   Before you go in search of that perfect snack, catch up on the industry news.  When you see an asterisk*, that indicates a title you’ll find in our Wooden Horse Database.

NEWSWEEK* magazine, in print since 1933, will cease its print edition and go all-digital at year’s end, Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown announced this week.  The final print issue is scheduled for December 31.  Cuts in editorial and business staffs are expected as a result of the changes…

NEWSWEEK* will relaunch in 2013 as a tablet-only magazine, titled NEWSWEEK GLOBAL…

L STYLE G STYLE, an Austin, Texas-based magazine targeting the LGBT community, will suspend publication while seeking investment to go national.  The publication only recently went from serving Austin, to covering the entire state…

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED* Editor-in-Chief and Time Inc Sports Group editor Terry McDonell stepped down from his post…

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED* tapped Chris Stone, chris_stone@simail.com, as the new managing editor.  Stone has been with the magazine for 20 years…

Time Inc named Paul Fichtenbaum as editor for the Sports Group, replacing the recently departed Terry McDonell…

REDBOOK* welcomed Leslie Robarge, lrobarge@hearst.com, as a deputy editor…

REDBOOK* welcomed Tiffany Blackstone, tblackstone@hearst.com, as a deputy editor…

REDBOOK* tapped Sarah Smith, no email available, as a deputy editor…

MAXIM* magazine brought in new assistant editor Cameron Berkman, cberkman@maxim.com and @camonrye…

CRAIN’S NEW YORK BUSINESS* promoted Jeremy Smerd, jsmerd@crainsnewyork.com and @smerd, to managing editor…

BOSTON MAGAZINE* welcomed associate digital editor for health Melissa Malamut, mmalamut@bostonmagazine.com and @melissamalamut…

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From grim outlook to grim reaper: Magazine staffers have reason to fear

Is it the return of the Grim Reaper, just in time for Halloween?

News came this week that the folks from management consulting firm McKinsey & Company are back at Time Inc., called in by CEO Laura Lang.

Despite Lang’s assurances that the consultants are there to work on consumer marketing issues, McKinsey’s presence creates some justifiable jumpiness among employees.  After all, the last time they made an appearance, in 2007, roughly 800 people were shown the door.

This also comes on the heels of an earlier visit this year from Bain & Co, which was hired by Lang in March to help right the ship at Time.

As if that wasn’t enough to make a staffer nervous, Conde Nast this week went on a two-day blood letting, axing an estimated 60 positions.  The move was the result of a recent company edict, directing all titles to cut an additional 5% from next year’s budget.  This in addition to the 10% they were asked to cut for 2012.

SELF* took the biggest blow, losing eight editorial staffers and three on the business side.  BRIDES* suffered too, cutting five from its editorial department and six in business.  It seemed there was nowhere to hide, with dismissals extending to most titles and up to the top floor, including two casualties in corporate communications.

So you can hardly blame those who remain at Time Inc, or any other magazine publisher, for feeling a bit like characters in a Halloween slasher movie, waiting to be picked off.

It seems the Grim Reaper shows up much more often these days.

Friday News Round-Up for October 12th

Think before you kiss Fido.  Japanese researchers studying dental plaque from dogs and their owners found that (ick!) dogs and humans who swap spit have more bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay.  We’ll just let that sink in.  In the meantime, check out the latest industry news.  All titles with an asterisk* are part of our helpful Wooden Horse Database.

Conde Nast cut an estimated 60 staffers at its magazines throughout Wednesday and Thursday, as part of a new cost cutting measure…

SELF* axed eight editorial staffers late Wednesday, as Conde Nast began making deep cuts…

GLAMOUR* and GQ* magazines saw staff cuts on Thursday, as Conde Nast continued major cuts…

WHOLE LIVING* magazine is up for sale by owner Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia…

GLAMOUR* ousted senior executive editor Catherine Romano, as part of Conde Nast staff cuts…

VOGUE* said goodbye to senior editor Riza Cruz…

MARIE CLAIRE* picked up new executive editor Riza Cruz, rcruz@hearst.com…

MARIE CLAIRE* named Tracy Shaffer, tshaffer@hearst.com, as the new entertainment editor…

TEEN VOGUE* hired Elaine Welteroth, elaine_welteroth@condenast.com and @ElaineWelteroth, as beauty and health director…

BON APPETIT* named Allie Lewis Capp, no email available, as the new food editor…

PARENTS* magazine said goodbye to senior editor for he website Heather Morgan Shott…

COUNTRY LIVING* lost Page Mullins, assistant market editor, overseeing the holiday gift guide…

CIO MAGAZINE* bid farewell to managing editor Christine Celli…

The new normal for magazines: Clean cuts and messy workloads

In the past week, we’ve seen several publishers use these clean-sounding euphemisms to describe their editorial plans going forward.

But editors know that the messy translation of these words means two things:

(a) They are going to make painful staff cuts, and

(b) Those who survive the winnowing will be taking on more work.

Hearst Magazines began the week by announcing they would combine the editorial departments for its design group, which includes shelter titles HOUSE BEAUTIFUL*, VERANDA* and ELLE DÉCOR*.  House Beautiful Editor-in-Chief Newell Turner was plucked from his post to fill the newly created position of Design Group Editor-in-Chief.

Hearst president David Carey said that “integration” would begin immediately, with the new group structure in place by mid-October.  True to his word, by the end of the week the job cuts had begun, with Elle Décor executive editor Vicky Lowry one of the first casualties as her position was eliminated.  It’s estimated a dozen jobs in the group will disappear by year’s end.

CONSUMER REPORTS* also started the week by putting out the news that they would be undergoing “restructuring.”  That same day, editorial director Kevin McKean was let go after seven years, and his position cut.

Publisher Conde Nast (VOGUE*, WIRED*, BON APPETIT*) this week asked all of its magazine titles to cut an additional 5% from their budgets for 2013.  Reportedly, many of the company’s units already were leaving vacant editorial positions unfilled to save money.

None of this is new, and it’s part of an ongoing trend as print magazines try to adapt in a changing media environment.

But if the trend is clear, so are the consequences.

Last month’s editorial salary survey from FOLIO:* magazine also contained feedback from editors on workload and job satisfaction.  Across the board, editors reported being overworked, short on resources and lacking support.

Judging by the survey respondents, at a time when editors have more diverse responsibilities than ever before—digital oversight, business planning, event programming—they must do it with diminished budgets and stagnant salaries.

And now, dwindling staffs.

Is it any wonder print magazines are in trouble?

The more things change…

Is it time for a new revolt?

Back in 1970, 46 female employees at NEWSWEEK* sued the magazine for discrimination in hiring and promotion.  The suit was brought by the talented, well-educated young women who distributed the mail, clipped newspaper stories or worked as researchers doing fact-checking, because that was the most they could aspire to at that time.  There were no female writers or editors at Newsweek.

After quietly planning their uprising for weeks—in the ladies restrooms—they announced the lawsuit on March 16 of that year, the same day Newsweek hit newsstands with the cover story, ‘Women in Revolt.’  The timing was not an accident, but was orchestrated to gain maximum publicity for their cause.

The story of this groundbreaking episode in American media history, and how it brought about change, is chronicled in the recent book, ‘Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace’ by Lynn Povich, one of the leading ladies of the revolt.  It’s a tale that offers context for younger women, who may take for granted the benefits that redound to them from the struggles of their Mad Men-era sisters.

But before we get all smug and self-satisfied about how far we’ve come since those days, let’s fast-forward to 2012, and the latest editorial salary survey released by FOLIO:* magazine.

The survey revealed that female magazine editors make, on average, $15,000 less than their male counterparts.  Using data from 513 editors, the differences between men and women’s salaries span all editorial levels.  And sadly, as Folio: editor Bill Mickey told the Atlantic Wire in an interview, the gap is where it historically has been.  But Mickey doesn’t provide any insights into why this is so, and simply said it reflects “national trends across other industries.”

But, even if others do it, it isn’t right.

Wednesday News Round-Up for July 11th

Okay, people…forget about E-coli at the next cookout!  Apparently there are new horrors…barbeque-loving meat-eaters showing up in hospitals, having consumed metal bristles from bbq grill brushes.  So be safe out there.  In the meantime, check out the latest industry news, and remember that all titles with an asterisk* are part of our oh-so-helpful Wooden Horse Database.

SPIN* has been acquired by BuzzMedia. The company says it will invest more in the magazine’s editorial resources and make some changes in management…

PARENTS* magazine’s website will get a redesign and upgrade.  The changes, according to publisher Meredith, will make the site more user friendly and interactive, as well as offer a new look and feel…

DOGS IN CANADA magazine could return to print in the future.  The Canadian Kennel Club is circulating a request for proposal (RFP) seeking a new publishing partner…

TRAVEL WEEKLY* and MEETINGS & CONVENTIONS* publisher, Northstar Travel Media, has been acquired by the Wicks Group from BV Investment Partners, both private equity groups…

SESSION WEEKLY, the magazine of the Minnesota state legislature, is ceasing print after 29 years.  The focus will shift to online and social media outlets…

SHAPE* welcomed new managing editor Lisa Loverro, lloverro@shape.com…

BON APPETIT* appointed Stacey Rivera, stacey_rivera@condenast.com, as managing editor…

MARTHA STEWART WEDDINGS* named Robin Sayers, rsayers@marthastewart.com, as the new executive editor…

EVERY DAY WITH RACHAEL RAY* bid farewell to managing editor Luke Braun…

SELF* said goodbye to Sarah Schmidt, who served as assistant to the editor-in-chief…

VANITY FAIR* snapped up Sarah Schmidt, sarah_schmidt@condenast.com, as an editorial assistant…

SELF* appointed Zahra Barnes, zahra_barnes@condenast.com, as assistant to the editor-in-chief…

THE ATLANTIC* is without associate editor Jared Keller…

SLATE* welcomed Laura helmuth, laura.helmuth@slate.com & @laurahelmuth, as the new science & health editor…

US WEEKLY* said goodbye to staff editor Natasha Wolff, who covered books…

BUSINESS INSURANCE magazine hired new managing editor Paul Bomberger, pbomberger@businessinsurance.com & @riskchief…

TODAY’S CHICAGO WOMAN named Carrie Williams, cwilliams@tcwmag.com and @CarrieAWilliams, as managing editor…

CHARISMA Christian magazine hired new associate editor Shawn Akers, shawn.akers@charismamedia.com…

Will it kill them or make them stronger? RDA tries to cut its way to better health

The amputations apparently haven’t yet saved the patient.

Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) announced this week it will offer its bondholders a take-it-or-leave-it buy-out, but at a 5% discount.  The payout will be funded by proceeds from RDA’s sale of Allrecipes.com earlier this year, which brought in $175 million.  Bondholders of these senior secured notes have until June 14 to decide whether to accept the deal and take a “haircut” on their investments.

Despite recently selling both Allrecipes.com and EVERY DAY WITH RACHAEL RAY* to Meredith, the company still is hemorrhaging cash, losing nearly $57 million in the first quarter of this year.  Revenue for Q1 fell by almost 15%.

Somehow they continue to blame, in part, the weak performance of Every Day with Rachael Ray (how long can you ride that horse?), declining renewal rates at North American operations (what publisher doesn’t have that problem?) and soft international business.

The truth is that RDA has been in a constant state of financial upheaval since going private in 2007, going through a managed bankruptcy in 2009, and has never recovered.  Now the company is looking at unloading its lifestyle and entertainment direct business, and selling off some international properties.

If RDA prunes down to its core North American publishing business, what then?  How much can you cut before there’s not much left to save?

Writers, photogs and PR pros may find the editors distracted; this is why.