Friday, July 12, 2024

A Rare Failure for Oprah as Hearst Publications Prepares to Lay Off 59 Staffers from “O” as It Ends Print Edition


Oprah Winfrey has few failures on her resume.

But the ending of the print edition of the “O” Magazine at Hearst will sting for some time to come. The December issue, as announced in July. will end the print version. From then on, O will be a website with special issues.

The NY Post’s Keith Kelly, king of all media reporting, says today that Hearst will lay off 50 O staffers on February 5th, 2021. They’ve filed a warning report with the NY Department of Labor, which I’ve obtained and you can see here.

Kelly says editor in chief Lucy Kaylin will survive while her staff will not. But O will be pushed under the digital regime that has whittled down the importance of most Hearst magazines. Earlier this year, Troy Young, who went from digital chief to running the company into the ground, was fired. But his legions live on, and they won’t be satisfied until the once grand company fits onto a terrabyte.

There’s a boiler plate Hearst statement about all this, but you can guess the wording.

I wrote in July that none of this made sense, O Magazine was doing very well. But again, Hearst is now run by people with no allegiance to physical magazines, and are hastening their death. I don’t the magazine’s budget, but certainly if Oprah were still committed to it, she could have taken it elsewhere, or private. My guess is, she wants out, too.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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