FOURTH TIME’S A CHARM?: The appointment of Pilar Guzman as editor in chief of Martha Stewart Living marks the fourth person in two years to take on the top job. Guzman, founding editor of shuttered parenting magazine Cookie, succeeds Vanessa Holden, who left the publishing world in February to become creative director at West Elm. Reached by phone on Tuesday afternoon, Guzman said the hiring process was a quick one (she’s only been talking to executives for a few weeks).
Since Cookie closed in October 2009, Guzman has taken various consulting gigs and freelanced, wrote a cooking book called “Time for Dinner” and created a blog, Momfilter. “It launched recently and is really kind of a labor of love,” said Guzman. “When Cookie folded, we all still had mommy stuff on the brain. We haven’t tried to develop it into a business.” Having said that, there is a possibility that it will be connected in some way to her new job at Martha Stewart Living. “It’s something we’ve been talking about but, for now, it’s a little pet project.”
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As for the content on Living’s Web site, Guzman said it needs to complement the flagship title but also be a place where there’s more of a curation of the blogosphere. “There are hundreds of people making these blogs, which are labors of love and it’s really my job as editor to keep my ear to the ground with various beats,” she said. “Publishing has changed so much. You need to get on board with the fact that bloggers have become editors. If somebody knows something better than I do, I want to get on that bus.”
Steering clear of taboo publishing words like redesign, she called the upcoming changes to the site an evolution. “When you’re in print you have to justify the printed page but things are done online at such speed,” Guzman said. “In the digital space we have to unlearn so many things and find ways to keep people engaged to keep a rich experience for the user.”
As for the magazine, which was up 3 percent on the newsstand for the last half of 2010 — and up 20 percent in advertising through the March issue according to Media Industry Newsletter — she said there are no hard and fast changes planned. “I’m just entering in, so we’ll assess.”