November 3, 2017

The Internet reacts to Condé Nast’s decision to stop printing Teen Vogue

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This week, the mega media publisher Condé Nast, already in the midst of a hiring freeze, announced it was cutting eighty jobs and ceasing the print publication of Teen Vogue, reports Alexandra Steigrad for WWD.

Keith J. Kelly also reports on the cutbacks in his “Media Ink” column in the New York Post, citing the publisher’s hopes of slashing $100 million in spending for the foreseeable future. (That means no luxe retirement party for Vanity Fair’s outgoing editor-in-chief Graydon Carter, who announced his plans of leaving VF this September.)

While Teen Vogue’s move to online-only is taking up most of the attention, several other magazines’ monthly issue prints will be reduced as well. “GQ, Glamour, Allure and Architectural Digest will go from 12 issues to 11; Bon Appétit will go from 11 issues to 10, and W and Condé Nast Traveler will now have eight issues, down from 10,” reports Steigrad.

According to Steigrad in another report for WWD, Condé Nast had layed off employees and restructured mastheads throughout the month of October, which actually comes on the heels of even more lay-offs throughout 2017. So this month’s cutbacks were to be expected — but some are still surprised by the decision to eliminate the print version of the fourteen-year-old Teen Vogue.

For Nylon, Sarah Beauchamp writes on how current editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth lifted it to a new height of relevancy and authority in the age of Trump: “Many people are shocked that Teen Vogue is one of the first print editions to close at the publisher, considering all the attention it’s garnered this year for its no-holds-barred coverage of the Trump administration, and the visibility its given to a diversity of stories.”

For the New Republic, Jo Livingstone explores what consequences might come from this new format for magazine journalism, and what might be lost in an online-only format when it comes to audience impact and engagement:

It is worth considering what is lost from our media environment when print magazines are culled in favor of a digital version of the brand. When a magazine moves fully online in this way, the physical body of the publication—which existed in the world, on the rack at the grocery store, or in the airport—is sucked up into the virtual sphere like a saint translated into heaven. We do not fully inhabit the internet, however. We still live in the world of objects. The loss of print Teen Vogue means the subtraction of a type of magazine cover from the world; one fewer place for young people of color to see themselves celebrated. The full ramifications of this brand virtualization are not yet known or really predictable. Online media does not stay still for long.

Livingstone’s point is beyond valid — it’s common sense. Right now, mainstream magazing publishing faces the challenge of putting out truthful and unbiased reporting while simultaneously adhering to the brand identities that help make that reporting legible to their audiences. The idea that new and varied readers can be found only online is naive; we’re all too aware of how our online communities (on Facebook, on Twitter) create echo chambers of knowledge and information. What is going to happen when a younger generation can no longer meander through a grocery store, bodega, or magazine shop and see themselves on the shelves?

 

 

Alex Primiani is senior publicist at Melville House.

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