Conde Nast to shutter Mademoiselle.
October 1, 2001 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Conde Nast to shutter Mademoiselle. The "deteriorating advertising environment" is blamed for the closing of the 66-year-old title, where Sylvia Plath first cut her teeth on the journalistic life. While Mlle's recent content has devolved into Cosmo-like treatises on how to please your man in bed and where to buy the clothing that will lure him in that general direction, it is more than a bit upsetting (particularly to someone who's trying to eke out a living as a writer) to see yet another Conde Nast-owned title (Details and Women's Sports & Fitness; Fairchild bought Details out and launched a revamped version) fall victim to the great advertising contraction of the past 12 months.
posted by maura (12 comments total)
particularly to someone who's trying to eke out a living as a writer

Well you're not alone in that. I'm sitting here, finishing one commission and wondering if I'll ever get another one. Try writing in the technology section, there's nothing out there. The magazine I used to work on has closed, the big pubishers are announcing redundancies all over the place, freelancers of ten years standing are submitting fully-written pieces in the hope of getting some cash. I know I shouldn't use MeFi as a forum for my bitterness but I couldn't help it.
posted by Summer at 9:26 AM on October 1, 2001

I don't think it's all that bad. Mlle (or "Millie," as editor Norwood wanted us to call it) hasn't had much of a point in years. I'm all for healthy competition among different books, but some of the titles are going to offer pretty much the same fare (Glamour v. Cosmo, etc.). Mademoiselle hasn't really offered anything new or different, so I'm not too sad to see it go. Sure, the mag used to publish some good work, but what has it done for anybody lately?

Perhaps it's a sign that readers want something beyond the "find a man" glossy world (Jane reported a 12% increase in ad pages as Mlle's declined -- not that Jane is 100% devoid of man/fashion stuff, but it's offbeat).

Maybe the advertising downturn will force publishers and editors to reconsider what they're offering to readers. If nothing else, they can try new tactics to attract readership (and advertisers).

Side note: It will be interesting to see how Bust fares as it publishes more frequently.
posted by acornface at 9:45 AM on October 1, 2001

i was wondering why mlle wasn't listed in the new writer's market.

i'm thinking that they revamped it recently, right? i didn't like the new layout... it was too shiny and it was smaller and it seemed like cosmo jr. to me.

c'est la vie. time to remove one entry from my list of queries.
posted by sugarfish at 9:54 AM on October 1, 2001

We really only need two mass-market magazines: Cosmo for women to read in the beauty parlor and Police Gazette for guys to read in the barbershop. Freelancers should be submitting to Material Handling World or Shoe Retailer.
posted by jfuller at 9:55 AM on October 1, 2001

I think the advertising downturn is going to make publishers more fearful of trying anything new. The trend now is to have everything based around celebrities. Do you have Celebrity Bodies in the US? 'You too can look like Pamela Anderson - simply remove a couple of ribs, take a slice out of your stomach then stitch it back together again'.
posted by Summer at 9:57 AM on October 1, 2001

It will be interesting to see how Bust fares as it publishes more frequently.

My guess: In order to attract advertisers that aren't just record labels and clothing companies run by friends of the Beastie Boys, Bust's content will trend, subtly but effectively, further towards the normal glossies -- not that it isn't even sort of that way now, since those "bad girls' guides" are, sadly, the mainstream pseudo-feminist voice these days.

(For primers on this shift, look at the direction Sassy magazine went in after it was bought out by the people who own (the still-printing) Teen, or the middle-of-the-road drift that has been in effect at since it was bought by dELiA's.)
posted by maura at 10:15 AM on October 1, 2001

Celebrity Bodies? Now that is a disturbing magazine title.

Frankly, I think jfuller may be right -- try doing contract work for obscure industry rags. Fast Ferry International, for example. There are a zillion merchandising mags, and don't even get me started on the insurance/health-care world. No, I'm actually serious.

(begin bitterness)...or there's always technical writing, the most soul-destroying work in the universe. Or, rather, the most soul-destroying work I've yet run into myself...(end bitterness)
posted by aramaic at 10:16 AM on October 1, 2001

I'm trying to make a name for myself as the interactive TV guru. I know everything there is to know about it now. I can't do technical writing I'm afraid, not clever enough. Maybe I'll give International Cheese Maker a call.
posted by Summer at 10:24 AM on October 1, 2001

summer, you might want to look into tom vu for inspiration.
posted by moz at 10:29 AM on October 1, 2001

Yeah, it's going to be a dire year for magazine publishing. One the speakers I heard this summer at the Columbia Publishing Course predicted that we would see up to 20% of the glossy magazines currently on the newsstand fail within the next year. Dire.

I hoping this would be the year for me to make the jump from independent publications to big ones. I was really, really wrong.
posted by arielmeadow at 12:14 PM on October 1, 2001

Eep--sorry about all those missing words up there: "of" and "was," respectively.
posted by arielmeadow at 12:21 PM on October 1, 2001

That leaves us with that scintillating rag Maxim. Ackkk!!!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:47 PM on October 1, 2001

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