Years of romcoms and episodes of Sex And The City and Ugly Betty have taught us that a glossy magazine is a fabulous place to work, full of luxe perks and glamour. But publishing has taken a financial hit, and editors are being told to cut back.
Alexandra Steigrad writes about Condé Nast's "new austerity" for WWD (subscription required):
While the company has asked publications that are not on track to hit internal projections to start "correcting" their budgets, a source said the tightening up impacts all magazines at the company, regardless of their results. This has translated into a hiring freeze through the summer, unless special circumstances call for the addition of a new hire.
Each magazine's cost-trimming mandate is different depending on how far off the individual title is from hitting 2014 projections. Although first-half ad-page numbers were not readily available, a source said the smaller, leaner Lucky, for example, would not have to cut as much from its budget as the significantly larger Vanity Fair.
Vogue, which ended the first quarter down 1 percent, had a rough second quarter with pages declining 11 percent, a source with knowledge of the Publishers Information Bureau results said, giving the glossy a 5 percent dip in the first half of the year.
Imagine having to talk to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour about austerity. Imagine.
Interesting that Lucky is mentioned: Lucky's editor-in-chief, Eva Chen, Instagrams photos of herself being driven to work in a cab or hired car almost every day. She puts her feet up on the seat, next to her bag, and supplies a caption — with brand information — for her 200k followers.
Digging into the first quarter, when Condé reported results in January, it said ad pages were flat, due mainly to a "flagging February." At the time, the company released a list of its best performers, but omitted the underperformers, which included Allure, GQ, Lucky, Self and Vanity Fair. Teen Vogue's ad pages dropped in the "double digits."
Magazines are not dead, but how do you "cut back" when there's so much expectation to maintain the image of the posh fashion editor — armed with a team of assistants, clad in the latest designer duds, jet-setting around the world?
You could argue that Chen's Instagramming is "work" — after all, she runs a shopping magazine — but with budget restraints and hiring freezes, how must other people at the company feel as they deal with leaner staffs and suffer stifling subway rides while she and her Chanel purses are driven (ALONE, not in a carpool) to the office on a daily basis?