The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

The fallout from the collapse of "Rosie" magazine hits the courts, and Rosie O'Donnell's former editor-in-chief Cathy Cavender recalls how she tried to maintain a delicate balance between what Rosie wanted and what G+J wanted. Shorthand, Rosie wanted "edgy", G+J wanted "sales".

Even this brief writeup inspires empathy from me. When you're in the magazine business, you're all-too-familiar with the constant balancing act between content and commerce.

While on one level I admire O'Donnell for wanting to go in such wild directions as putting Mike Tyson and Lyle Menendez on the cover, I have to wonder what the hell she was thinking. Her audience was the same as that for Oprah and similar daytime chatfest shows--not the types who would flock to magazines that had thugs and murders on the front. Nor would such tactics draw in substantial new audiences. In fact, why would you want to, when the current canned format pulled in the most lucrative magazine readers out there (women in their 30s and 40s)? It seems to me that O'Donnell forgot about the dance partner that brought here to that peak.