Incredibly detailed article about Condé Nast woes
This approach requires fewer editors, too. One told me that he wasn’t sure how many people still worked there after many rounds of layoffs in recent years but that GQ hadn’t been able to field a softball team this summer. Others said they felt a sense of renewed purpose after the constant cutting. GQ’s focus, however, not only risked alienating a huge chunk of its readership, which is roughly 40 percent female, but also brought with it the dangers of myopia. In the December 2018 issue, Serena Williams was included as one of four honorees for its Man of the Year Award. Shortly before the print deadline, Welch took a copy of the cover to Virgil Abloh, the streetwear designer, and had him cross out MAN and write WOMAN. Abloh puts quotation marks around words for emphasis, a fact known to every kid standing on a street corner in Soho but almost no one else. The word WOMAN appeared in quotes next to a photo of Williams, causing an uproar online. Williams didn’t put the cover on her social media.
But it wasn’t clear what lessons other Condé magazines could take from The New Yorker’s success. The title had been exempt from Wintour’s involvement, along with the worst of the cutting and hubbing that had depleted the others’ abilities to put out the best possible product. (The New Yorker is the only magazine with its own floor in 1WTC, its editors were allowed to keep Microsoft Word while the rest of Condé switched to Google Docs, and it is exempt from the Content Integrity Unit’s Condé-wide style guide.)