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WEST COAST WORRIES: First Condé Nast begins cutting back on trips and hiring, and now Hearst Magazines is trying to trim its cost structure as the publishing industry retrenches in a shrinking economy. Insiders are buzzing that company president Cathie Black is going “floor by floor” at the Hearst Tower to trim costs — and staff positions — where possible. One title already affected is Harper’s Bazaar, which closed its Los Angeles and San Francisco sales offices on Tuesday and hired an outside firm to handle ad sales on the West Coast. The magazine also trimmed positions in its merchandising division last week. Though it was unclear how many staffers Harper’s Bazaar employed on the West Coast, a voice mail of Lisa Marie Costa, the magazine’s southwest director, said she no longer worked at the company. “Harper’s Bazaar has chosen to hire a firm to manage sales on the West Coast. We think it’s a smart decision — given that we’ve had growth in paging and share,” said a Harper’s Bazaar spokeswoman, adding that no sales jobs in New York were affected by the move.
Bazaar has fared better than most of its competition throughout the year. According to Media Industry Newsletter, ad page growth has been flat through November, totaling 1,859 pages. The magazine got a boost from publishing a special fashion issue, Runway Report, in September. But the steady page numbers aren’t protecting the title from cuts in the current economic environment. According to insiders, the magazine supposedly has a target to cut $1 million in expenses from its budget.
Insiders are also buzzing about additional job cuts across more titles at Hearst, which is already reeling from the closure of Cosmogirl earlier this month. Speculation includes cutbacks at O, The Oprah Magazine, with some believing management may fold its home spin-off, O at Home.
— Stephanie D. Smith