The imperial publisher follows the path of Dodo

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It’s not even a physical magazine either. The primary responsibility of a publisher is no longer the alchemy of a printed monthly issue, which is increasingly a relic like the Imperial figure; now that involves a cross-platform juggling of changing websites, social media accounts, podcasts, and other digital properties.

No wonder, perhaps, that at Condé Nast some of the most prestigious positions, including editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris and Vogue Germany, are not filled at all. In April, the company published a letter from top editors outlining “a collective vision” for a major overhaul of its deemed hierarchical and protective global operations.

“We used to work in silos, dealing with our individual titles and often competing with each other – ultimately it’s self-destructive,” the letter says.

Now, new editors, like Glamor Samantha Barry (who took the job in 2018), reflect a spirit of collaboration between Condé Nast magazines. Ms Barry called this a “sharing economy,” in which editors support each other on weekly Zoom calls with Ms Wintour or via text. (Referring to the editors-only panel discussion, Ms. Jones of Vanity Fair said, “This is a great resource and gives me great joy.”)

“I think it might be a little different from how it was in the ’90s,” Ms. Barry said.

But publishers are also sharing content – shots and interviews – a strategy that has been ongoing since 2018 and has also been used in Hearst (where different editions of Harper’s Bazaar share content, for example) and the former Time Inc. (where International InStyles also shared).

In practice, this resulted in a marriage of the previously separated sister companies of Condé Nast and Condé Nast International, centralizing power in New York and creating layoffs. Many magazine employees interviewed for this article were told they need to reapply for their positions and said their titles expect significant layoffs, which will be announced in July.


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