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CAGLE’S PEOPLE: Jess Cagle, editorial director of People, has made his first big changes to the magazine since taking the helm in January, including three updated editorial features. Cagle told WWD that he wanted to update the front of the book by tweaking People Picks, StyleTracks and Chatter. The changes will be visible in the June 16 issue.
“Right now, we’re in a period of evolution, not revolution,” Cagle said. “It’s all about diving into the brand, knowing what your audience loves and doing it.”
This story first appeared in the June 4, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
As a result, the editor started with People Picks, essentially a recommendations list of music, movies, TV and books, which he broadened to include apps, games, social feeds, online video and theater.
The magazine has also expanded Star Tracks, which is now called Style Tracks, to include fashion. On these pages, style director Andrea Lavinthal and her team will showcase noteworthy celebrity looks of the week. For the latest issue, People has featured the top looks from the CFDA Fashion Awards, which took place Monday night.
“It was a happy accident,” Cagle said, referring to the fact the awards coincided with the launch of Style Tracks.
“The dresses at the CFDA Awards were not so great,” he demurred.
The final section, Chatter, is a bit of a throwback. A compilation of celebrity quotes, the feature traditionally appeared on the last page of the magazine. Over time it evolved into the One Last Thing interview. Cagle has revived Chatter and put it in the front of the book.
“In 1987, when I first came to work at People right out of college, I was a fact checker on the Chatter page,” he said. “It’s always held a special place in my heart. I always thought if I’d become the Chatter writer, I’d have it made.”
Cagle noted that People Picks would be developed and expanded on people.com in the coming weeks, which would surely drive digital ad dollars. On the fashion front, Cagle said the magazine is “missing a reflection of its red-carpet commitment” in print, and that by folding in more style-centric pages, it would “make the most” of what it covers.
With that, the editor said there would be more changes in print and online, including the debut of a live daily show on its site this summer called “People Now.”