Hearst to cut 59 staffers at Oprah Magazine

The first crack in Hearst Magazines’ no-layoff policy during COVID-19 opened up last week when it revealed plans to cut 59 staffers of O,...

The first crack in Hearst Magazines’ no-layoff policy during COVID-19 opened up last week when it revealed plans to cut 59 staffers of O, the Oprah Magazine, which is pulling the plug on its monthly print publication.

The planned layoffs will take place on Feb. 15, or roughly six weeks after its December issue, according to notice filed with the New York State Labor Dept. on Friday.

Insiders say editor-in-chief Lucy Kaylin is expected to survive the cuts, which could clobber much of her staff.

Hearst announced earlier this year that the December issue will be its last monthly print edition. It still plans to produce up to four special issues next year, insiders said. But such editions, which tend to come with a high cover price, long lead times and few ads, don’t typically require the same staffing levels as a monthly.

Up to now, Hearst has stood alone among major media companies by not laying off or furloughing employees when advertising spending dried up as COVID-19 began ravaging the country. And Hearst on Tuesday suggested the layoffs at Oprah Winfrey’s magazine are not representative of larger plans.

“Supporting our colleagues through the peak of the pandemic by protecting jobs and enhancing benefits has been our priority,” said a Hearst spokeswoman. “As we embark on this new chapter and introduce a new model for this beloved brand, we must also make difficult decisions to position the business for growth, which we are doing with consideration and care.”

The magazine — a joint-venture between Oprah Winfrey and Hearst — disclosed back in July that its 20-year run as a regularly scheduled monthly print magazine would end in December, but didn’t disclose how that would affect the staff.

At the time, the company said there would likely be a “print expression” of some sort in the future, but was vague on what that might look like. Insiders have told tell Media Ink that the plan is to print on a quarterly basis next year and sell those issues at the newsstand, not directly to subscribers.

Rival publisher Meredith followed a similar strategy with its Rachael Ray Every Day magazine, which ended its regular print edition late last year. It now appears as a quarterly newsstand only title without subscribers and with a slight name alteration to Rachael Ray In Season.

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Newsrust: Hearst to cut 59 staffers at Oprah Magazine
Hearst to cut 59 staffers at Oprah Magazine
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