The entire editorial staff of Men’s Journal has been laid off, as magazine owner American Media LLC (AMI) makes plans to move to California, reports Publishers Daily. The layoff affects about 20 members of the men’s lifestyle and fitness magazine’s editorial staff. AMI’s Adventures Sports Network will take over writing, editing and production of the magazine, while the sales team for Men’s Journal will remain in New York. In addition, instead of publishing 10 times a year, the number of issues will decrease to six.
Among those laid off is senior editor J.R. Sullivan who tweeted about the news on Friday.
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According to WWD, staff were notified on Friday. They will continue to work for the magazine until the end of March to put the May issue to bed. Adweek reports, via Alliance for Audited Media, that Men’s Journal had total paid and verified circulation of just over 981,000 last year. AMI purchased Men’s Journal from Wenner Media in 2017.
A spokesperson said, “The strategic decision to merge Men’s Journal’s editorial operations with the passionate and talented staff of the Adventure Sports Network in Carlsbad, Calif., which American Media acquired a year ago, ensures the continued growth and success for Men’s Journal as well as ASN.”
In related news, on Valentine’s Day, AMI announced that it was selling Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend, a Las Vegas showcase event, Muscle & Fitness, FLEX and M&F Hers media brands to Jake Wood, an Arizona-based fitness industry insider and co-founder of Wings of Strength. Wood will become the third owner of the magazine and media brand empire built by Joe Weider. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“My primary motivation for acquiring the Olympia is to bring the event back to the fans,” said Wood in a February 14, 2020 news release. “It’s a dream come true to take ownership of some of the fitness industry’s most celebrated brands. Our ability to also acquire a media portfolio that includes Muscle & Fitness allows us to reach one of the largest fitness-minded audiences in the world. This is a great day for everyone who shares a passion for fitness, nutrition, training and the bodybuilding lifestyle.”
AMI Chairman and CEO David J. Pecker, added, “It has been a privilege owning and developing these brands since we acquired them in 2003. I’m confident they will thrive under Jake’s ownership and his forward-thinking plan to transition to a fully integrated online and social media strategy.”
As part of the agreement, AMI will continue to cover and promote the Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend and support it through sponsorships. AMI owns a number of entertainment tabloids including Us Weekly, In Touch, OK!, Life & Style, Soap Opera Digest and Radar Online.
Another publisher finds a way to cut costs to make its magazine work. Unfortunately, in this case, that means cutting staff too and replacing them with an existing team on the other side of the country. They are also reducing the number of issues and could possibly reformat or redesign the magazine to better match ASN’s strengths. We love magazines but understand the need to make the business model work. Perhaps they’ll follow Meredith’s example, and test different models to find out what works for each magazine and audience and play to those strengths.