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Hearst Magazine President Resigns

Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 2:33 PM

In the news: Reporting from the New York Times

Last week, Hearst announced the resignation of magazine president Troy Young. The abrupt departure came in the aftermath of NYT's reporting of alleged bullying and sexual harassment by Young that contributed to a toxic work culture, as well as reports of pervasive racism in Hearst workplaces.

As Dade Hayes of Deadline.com reports, Troy's initial response to the Times allegations about his behavior were defensive. In the statement, he referred to the complainants as "detractors" and attributed his behavior to his "ambitious" "strength of commitment." As for alleged inappropriate sexual comments, he claimed that frank discussions about sex were part of the workplace culture. He softened his tone in a subsequent company memo, reports Greg Dool of Foliomag.com, but the damage was done; that same day, Hearst CEO Steven Swartz announced a mutual parting of ways with Young. Read the full NYT piece here. (Note: Subscription or registration required.)

Also Notable

Hearst Magazine Staffers Unionize

Just as we were about to publish this month's EO newsletter, we saw breaking news that Hearst staffers have voted to unionize. Kerry Flynn of CNN Business reports that the vote was 241-83 and that Hearst will unionize through the Writers Guild of America, East. According to Flynn, the unionization "encompass[es] 28 digital and print brands, including Cosmopolitan, Delish and Esquire, and it has about 500 members. It's one of the largest unions in the media industry." Read more here.

Are Journalists Giving Up on Twitter?

Racism in the magazine industry is a hot topic on social media, but some Black journalists are choosing not to participate on Twitter. Mark Lieberman of Poynter.org discusses how K. Austin Collins, one of four Black journalists interviewed in NYT's recent diversity initiatives at The Ringer, has opted out of the Twitter discussion. "His decision to abandon Twitter, motivated by a long-simmering sense that it wasn't compatible with his emotional and intellectual well-being," reports Lieberman. Instead, Collins has discussed issues with the article itself via text with the journalist and discussing the matter with friends offline, a growing trend in the journalism community at large. Read more here.

Hearst Expands Paywall and Membership Initiatives

Looking to recoup lost ad revenue during the Covid-19 pandemic, Hearst is expanding its paywall program to fortify its subscription-based revenue streams. According to Kathryn Hopkins of WWD.com, Cosmopolitan is offering "a package including unlimited digital access and an exclusive newsletter and content is priced at $2 a month.... For $20 a year, they get the website, print magazine and newsletter, as well as various deals. Without a digital subscription, readers will be able to access four free articles a month." Read more here.

Magazines Adapt Newsletter Strategies

"The inbox is the new doorstep," New Yorker newsletter editor Jessi Li tells Greg Dool of Foliomag.com in a July 21 article. Many online readers look to curated newsletters to keep themselves up to date on topics of interest. Li tells Dool that her publication is doing well with "more traditional formats -- link drivers or article roundups -- that can function as a less cluttered, more curated version of a homepage for readers." Some publications, Dool says, citing comments from Robin Re (vice president of marketing at Industry Dive), are still having success with the headline-and-brief-summary format. Read more here.

O Magazine Shutters Print Edition

This week, Oprah Winfrey's O magazine announced that, after two decades, it will shutter its print edition at the end of the year. The Hearst-owned brand will continue online. As the AP notes in its reporting, the closure comes as Hearst deals with the fallout of president Troy Young's sudden departure last week and the industry at large grapples with plummeting print ad revenue. Read more here.

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