SLICE OF NEW YORK: New York Magazine on Monday signaled that it isn’t immune to the recession. The media company laid off staffers across several divisions, including senior editor Jesse Oxfeld, who had been with New York since 2006, first joining as a senior editor on nymag.com. Oxfeld told portfolio.com he was being let go as the magazine integrates the staff from the Web site’s Daily Intel section with the Intelligencer section. Sources said around five or six people were let go in total, a small percentage of New York’s nearly 300 employees. “New York Media, like every responsible company in this economic climate, is cutting costs and finding efficiencies as we plan for the year ahead,” said a spokeswoman. Though the magazine still plans to publish spin-offs including its twice annual Weddings and fashion special, Look, the company is mulling frequency plans for each as of now.
The cuts come on the heels of the departure in November of Gael Greene, a food writer for the magazine for 40 years. Adam Moss, New York’s editor in chief, told The New York Times Greene “was laid off — there is no elegant expression for it,” because New York could no longer afford four food critics. Adam Platt, Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite remain food columnists for the magazine. — Stephanie D. Smith
This story first appeared in the December 16, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
SCARLETT’S MARRIAGE MISQUOTES: British Cosmopolitan is blaming the furor over the allegedly fabricated quotes attributed to Scarlett Johansson in its January issue on an interview the magazine bought from an agency journalist. The actress features on the magazine’s cover, along with the cover line, “Scarlett: ‘Why I HAD to get married!’ ” while the interview inside includes several quotes relating to her marriage to actor Ryan Reynolds.
However, Johansson’s publicist described the quotes in which the actress discusses her marriage as “wholly fabricated.” “Ms. Johansson has at no point granted U.K. Cosmopolitan an interview, and she has never discussed her personal relationships with the publication,” her p.r. said.
On Monday, British Cosmo’s publisher, Natmags, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hearst Magazines, said the title published the agency journalist’s quotes in “good faith.” “U.K. Cosmopolitan is taking the complaints by Ms. Johansson’s publicist seriously and is investigating the matter further,” the company said.
Cosmopolitan attributes the story to Rebecca Winters Keegan — who carried out an interview with Johansson for the August issue of American Cosmopolitan — and an “additional interview” with Francesca Williams. Johansson’s publicist said Monday that “Francesca Williams” turned out to be a pseudonym, and that the additional interview was said to have been carried out at a Los Angeles press junket for the film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” on Aug. 4. Johansson’s publicist said that at that point, the actress wasn’t married.
He added Johansson is seeking legal advice while the magazine investigates the interview and that if the actress does decide to file a libel suit, she would donate any damages to charity. — Nina Jones
SOMETHING IS DOING WELL: People.com is known for its up-to-the-minute celebrity news, but as the site continues to diversify into more verticals, it has also found ways to score new advertisers. Its style vertical, for example, has 100 million monthly page views, and has recently lured advertisers such as Tiffany & Co. and Neiman Marcus. The site is also showing visitors how to purchase the styles worn by celebrities, which, by the end of this year, will result in $1 million in merchandise sales thanks to people.com.
The Web site has also pushed into further diversification with a new baby blog, which has resulted in advertising from Similac, a brand of infant formula. Fran Hauser, president, digital style and entertainment group, said advertising on people.com will be up 46 percent this year and 25 percent alone during the fourth quarter. The site’s top three categories, toiletries and cosmetics, entertainment and consumer packaged goods, shouldn’t be hit as hard as others, she noted. Mark Golin, editor, said that unique visitors for October were 8.6 million, compared to 6.3 million in October 2007. — Amy Wicks
BUT THEN AGAIN: Total ad spending for the first nine months of this year fell 1.7 percent compared to the same period last year, according to a new report from TNS Media Intelligence. Consumer magazine ad spending was down 3.8 percent and newspapers also fell 10 percent, but Internet spending was up 7 percent and TV spending was also up slightly, at 2.1 percent.
Procter & Gamble held its position as the largest advertiser, spending $2.2 billion through September, however the company’s ad expenditures were down 5.9 percent versus a year ago. General Motors, which faced declining sales and eroding market share, spent 15.7 percent more during the period, to $1.6 billion. Among media companies, Time Warner’s spending was down 10.5 percent to approximately $1.1 billion and News Corp.’s ad expenditures jumped 10.4 percent, to just over $1 billion. — A.W.