BY MIA FREEDMAN My phone and inbox started pinging yesterday arvo with news that Australian Vogue Editor Kirstie Clements was out. She’d been in that role for 14 years.
Almost immediately came the news that she’d been replaced by Harpers Bazaar Editor, Edwina McCann.
The magazine industry is not a big place and I know both of these women well. Have known them both for 20 years. It’s never a happy day when someone loses their job and so this post isn’t about Kirstie or Edwina – both of whom I wish well.
But the breaking news about Vogue sparked some interesting conversations among the MM editorial team yesterday. When the circulation of the two fashion magazines was reported (Vogue 51K copies per month and Bazaar 54K copies per month), my team was shocked.
To put it in perspective by way of context, Vogue ONLINE has 1.1m UBs per month. Is that the answer for Vogue and other fashion mags? To make their printed product more accessible, more like their online presence?
UPDATE: Very possibly according to today’s interview in The Australian with new Vogue ed Edwina McCann:
Increasing print sales remains a priority, but for McCann the key trend is on the digital side of the iconic masthead, which already reaches a million unique browsers a month through its website, as well as 77,000 Facebook “friends” and 50,000 fans on social multimedia network Tumblr.
“I don’t think Vogue is just a magazine. It’s not. I’m going to be editor-in-chief of Vogue the brand,” she says. “I would like obviously to get print sales up but digital is very much a focus — digital is the long-term future.
“The idea of being editor-in-chief over not only the magazine but also the digital assets is what was so attractive about the position. But the digital assets need to be reinvigorated, potentially redesigned. The magazine is the heart and soul of the brand, but I’m just as interested in a Facebook friend.”
There is no better known fashion media brand in the world. There’s probably no better known fashion brand full stop. Vogue is iconic and has been for decades.
But magazines are haemorrhaging readers (in print) and fashion magazines are bleeding particularly heavily.
I’m treading on dangerous ground here, according to some. Whenever I write about magazines here on Mamamia, some very vocal people in the mag industry become incensed. Comments are left. Emails are sent. Tweets are fired off. Things get nasty. The general gist of the outrage from these sources is that my career was built on magazines and I should be grateful for that. I should be loyal. I should not criticise the industry that “made” me.
I’ve always struggled with that concept. Yes, I adored magazines and worked with some incredible people including Lisa Wilkinson, Wendy Squires, Pat Ingram, Paula Joye, Deborah Thomas, Nick Chan, John Alexander and Richard Walsh who taught me so much.
I am proud of what I achieved during the 15 years I spent working in the magazine industry, particularly my time at Cosmo when I was able to further my belief that mags should be more diverse in the way they portrayed women.
I did some good things, I did some bad things and ultimately, I became frustrated, disillusioned, impatient, restless and moved on. Mags just weren’t speaking to me or inspiring me anymore. They felt increasingly disconnected from my life. And as a reader, they made me feel like shit.