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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

October 5, 2009 at 9:32 AM

Gourmet magazine on “close” list says Conde Nast CEO

It seems like only yesterday (actually it was only yesterday) that a friend stopped to ask, “Did you go see Ruth Reichl at Third Place Books the other night?” I hadn’t. She was there, representing Gourmet as its longtime editor, promoting the 68-year-old magazine’s latest cookbook. And now comes news that there’s truth to the rumors I’ve been hearing: Gourmet is one of the magazines on Conde Nast’s chopping block. What a sin and a shame — as my friends and other food lovers across the country are reporting this morning.

What next! Gourmet is no longer the apple of Conde Nast’s eye. I’ll miss it.

Here’s the internal memo from Conde Nast CEO Chuck Townsend:

From: Townsend, Chuck

Sent: Monday, October 05, 2009 10:17 AM

Subject: Announcing Changes within Conde Nast

We have now completed an extensive review of our business – an important undertaking given the dramatic changes in the U.S. economy. The review has led us to a number of decisions designed to navigate the company through the economic downturn and to position us to take advantage of coming opportunities.

Conde Nast’s success comes from the ability of our publications to attract readers with a wide range of interests, as well as advertisers who value them. But in this economic climate it is important to narrow our focus to titles with the greatest prospects for long-term growth.

As a result of our review, Brides will increase its frequency to monthly to solidify its position as the most important brand in the bridal category, and Modern Bride and Elegant Bride will close.

Gourmet magazine will cease monthly publication, but we will remain committed to the brand, retaining Gourmet’s book publishing and television programming, and Gourmet recipes on Epicurious.com. We will concentrate our publishing activities in the epicurean category on Bon Appetit.

Finally, Cookie magazine will be discontinued, and resources that had been dedicated to its publishing will be invested elsewhere.

The editorial and business staffs of Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, Gourmet, and Cookie all have earned their magazines large and devoted followings. We have been proud to publish these titles, and we are grateful to the staffs for their hard work and dedication.

These changes, combined with cost and workforce reductions now underway throughout the company, will speed the recovery of our current businesses and enable us to pursue new ventures. In the coming weeks, we hope to announce initiatives to develop digital versions of our brands that will make use of new devices and distribution channels.

Conde Nast is now in its 100th year of creating the most respected and iconic brands in the publishing world. These changes will ensure that our unique publishing company will continue in its preeminent position for many years to come.

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