KRATOCHVIL OUT AT IN STYLE: John Korpics has been In Style’s creative director for less than three months, but already he’s brought about one of the most talked-about staffing changes in the magazine’s relatively stable 11-year history. Photo director Laurie Kratochvil, who has worked for In Style since its inception, supervising many of the magazine’s celebrity cover shoots and much of its well photography, is leaving. A spokeswoman said it was Kratochvil’s decision, but there are some indications she was helped out the door.
“When John came in [managing editor] Charla [Lawhon] did a little restructuring,” the spokeswoman said. “Laurie’s position has always reported directly to Charla. Charla thought it made more sense to have her position report to John.”
Kratochvil consulted during In Style’s test and launch phases and joined the staff in 1997. Korpics came over from Esquire in February of this year to replace former design director Rip Georges. At that time, Lawhon was said to have wanted to put her stamp on the magazine, which she inherited from founding editor Martha Nelson. The decision to shake up In Style’s look may also have been precipitated by its recent downward newsstand trend. While subscriptions are still steadily gaining, single-copy sales were off 6.8 percent to 849,740 for the second half of 2004. It was the first period the magazine has averaged fewer than 900,000 copies on the newsstand in at least five years.
Several editors said they anticipated more staffing shifts to come, particularly for the magazine’s special issues team.
Kratochvil, who will finish out the month of May at In Style and in that time oversee the magazine’s August cover shoot, said on Monday, “They have a new creative director, so it’s not surprising that things change.” Discussing her future plans, she added, “I do books, I teach, I’ve curated shows, but my expertise is in magazines….I hope my next venture will be as exciting and rewarding as In Style has been.”
— Sara James
SMART AND SMARTER: There’s a new British men’s magazine headed for the U.S. and, in a refreshing change of pace, it won’t have any dirty jokes, amputees or lingerie-clad nubiles. It’s called Intelligent Life, and it’s a spin-off of The Economist. Making its debut May 14 with a rate base of 250,000, Intelligent Life will cover travel, cars, fitness, finance, luxury trends and leisure (pronounced “leh-zhur”) activities for a wealthy, predominantly male audience. “This is all about consumers as people rather than as cogs in a giant economic machine,” said Nick Valery, a longtime foreign correspondent for The Economist who edits Intelligent Life. “It’s a lean-back read, not a head-down read.” He added that the title will most likely appear once this year, twice next year and quarterly in 2007.
Nothing if not thorough, the staff of The Economist produced two mock-ups, including a full 128-page dummy issue, and “tested it to distraction” (in Valery’s phrase) before publishing the first issue of Intelligent Life last year. That one was only distributed in Europe. Valery, who lives in Los Angeles, acknowledged that America is a different market altogether. “It’s very willing to listen to a sales pitch and will give you the benefit of the doubt, but you’d better deliver or it will punish you.”
— Jeff Bercovici
THANKS A BILLION: It looks increasingly like Hearst may have a full-blown spin-off on its hands in Cosmopolitan Style. As the second issue of the brand extension hits the newsstand this week, plans are already calling for a frequency increase in 2006. Cosmo publisher Donna Lagani confirmed there would be more issues next year, but stopped short of saying what the new frequency would be, demurring, “I can’t be too definite.” (According to a source at Hearst, it will be quarterly.) She did say that the first issue, published last September, sold approximately 700,000 copies on the newsstand, and that the first and second issues each carried about 40 ad pages.
Meanwhile, in a bit of fortuitous timing, Cosmo’s 40th anniversary this September is projected to coincide with another milestone: the sale of the magazine’s billionth copy. Nice birthday present.