THE MASTHEADS CONTINUE TO SHRINK: Condé Nast managers have been forced to reevaluate their head counts this fall, as each department has been asked to trim 5 percent of its staff, either by attrition or other means. As 2008 winds down, some top employees at the bigger titles have exited, but not all due to the 5 percent mandatory reductions. At Vanity Fair, three staffers were let go Tuesday; two in the photo and research department, according to two sources. Senior articles editor Peter Newcomb was also let go but will continue as a contributing editor. Newcomb was one of the last editors hired at the title two and a half years ago, and oversaw the magazine’s annual New Establishment list. “It’s not like I’m out of a job; it’s just an extrapolation of my old job,” he said. Newcomb joined Vanity Fair after working for 20 years at Forbes.
At Vogue, Lisa Jordan Helms was let go last week. Helms was hired in February as associate publisher/advertiser when Tom Florio was elevated to a group publisher role overseeing four Vogue properties — Vogue, Vogue Living, Men’s Vogue and Teen Vogue. But with Vogue Living folded and Men’s Vogue reduced to a twice a year special, that has led to some contraction across the sales staff, and Helms’ role became redundant. Vogue still has four ad directors overseeing different business categories, and Connie Anne Phillips remains managing director.
Finally, GQ lost its director of special projects, Beth Altschull, but her departure was based on a personal decision. She’s getting married next June to TV and comedy writer Paul Simms. Altschull has been at GQ for seven years. Prior to that she worked for three years at Vanity Fair. GQ West Coast editor Chris Huvane will take over Altschull’s responsibilities.
— Stephanie D. Smith