The very slow whittling of magazine staffs at Condé Nast continues.
Over the last few months, editorial departments have again shrunk at Condé star titles Vogue and Vanity Fair. Both have already made considerable cuts to staff and pushed a number of high-profile (and highly paid) editors to “contributor” or freelance status over the last few years, when cost control became paramount. The official number from the publisher of employees that have been let go at both titles over the last six months is “less than 10.”
But a thorough look at the masthead of both magazines shows something a bit different. A spokesman explained that some freelancers were on the mastheads for a time for their work (and not under the contributor sections), and then cycled out, accounting for the discrepancy. Also, there is the “creative group,” which is a relatively new group of photo, art and creative staff that now sits separately from any one magazine but contributes to many and has had a few people from certain magazines folded in.
Nevertheless, Vogue’s most recent masthead is down by 12 people and Vanity Fair’s is down by 13 people compared to six months ago. Traditionally, mastheads do not change much month to month and represent everyone on the staff of a publication that contributes to its creation. This may be getting trickier as staffers are asked to work across platforms and publications, but still they exist to show who’s working where and people want to be on them.
Both Vogue and Vanity Fair have also had a few staffers leave of their own accord, some of whom will not be replaced. Edward Barsamian, for example, left his post as style editor of vogue.com for a position with Victoria Beckham’s brand as it expands online, but his role at Vogue won’t be filled. The same goes for features editor Eve MacSweeney, who left late last year.
Similarly at Vanity Fair, Jon Kelly recently left his post as founding editor of The Hive, the magazine’s successful news and culture vertical. His successor is John Homans, an internal promotion; he will maintain his responsibilities as executive editor, so something of a two-for-one deal. There have been some other voluntary departures, too, like West Coast editor Krista Smith, who just went to Netflix, but also apparently cuts to the creative side, including art, editors and staff writers. Cuts to the engineering side have taken place as well within Condé Nast’s Co/Lab segment, which last fall combined more with Condé’s international business, two halves that are set to become one global operation entirely.
There is also said to have been some hiring, mainly in video and production, a big investment area for Condé, and some people have been moved out of editorial to other positions within the company. But even still, there are fewer people working full-time in editorial for Vogue and Vanity Fair, online and off.
For now, any further organizational changes are thought to be on hold as new global chief executive officer Roger Lynch is set to take up his new job next week. Anna Wintour, speaking with Tina Brown last week, said that Lynch is set to go on a “listening tour” of Condé’s offices and then “come back with a strategy.”
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