Two of Australia's most high-profile women's magazines losing half their staff.

In breaking magazine news today, it has been confirmed that Cleo and Dolly magazines may be merging their staff. The decision has apparently come from publisher Bauer’s head office in Germany.

Under the proposed plan, both the mags will remain separate, but will work under one editor-in-chief and with one set of staff.

There was reportedly a meeting this morning, in which staff from both mags were told they would have to reapply for their current positions under the new system – which means approximately half will lose their jobs.

It’s assumed that the all-important editor-in-chief position will come down to current Cleo editor Sharri Markson and Dolly Editor Tiffany Dunk.

Sharri Markson (left) and Tiffany Dunk.

There were early reports that the two mags were merging into one title, but it was conifirmed on Twitter by Australian journalist Nick Leys in a tweet that it is only the staff that is merging:

Bauer Media Group released a statement about the plan this morning, stating that “Publishers – both in Australia and overseas – have made similar changes as they respond to new opportunities to create strong multi-platform brands across print, web, mobile, social media and events.

“The company is now discussing with staff a proposal to bring the teams behind Cleo and Dolly together. An editor-in-chief would be responsible for both titles, with other team members either working directly on the brand or where possible across the two brands.”

Bauer CEO Matthew Stantonsaid added that “Cleo and Dolly are quickly evolving to meet the needs of a target audience which is itself rapidly changing. In such a dynamic environment, it makes sense to bring the staff creating these young women’s lifestyle titles together. The single publishing unit enables us to tap the synergies and expertise between the mastheads to further enhance the reach and relevance of these two much-loved Australian magazine brands.


“Should we proceed, the new structure is likely to be in place early in 2014.”

Bauer spokeswoman Deborah Thomas (and former Cleo editor herself) confirmed “The idea is to have one editor-in-chief, one managing editor and one publisher overseeing both titles, but nothing is a done deal it is simply an idea we are looking at.”

The ‘Cleo Dolly Merger’ isn’t the first big change from Bauer this year, with both Madison and Grazia closing due to financial pressures.

The move has many questioning how old-school magazines will stay profitable in an increasingly online-focussed media environment. Former Cleo Editor Lisa Wilkinson tweeted the following after the news broke:

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