Janice Min, the editor of US Weekly, told her staff at Wenner Media in a letter that she is leaving the magazine after six years in the top editorial slot.
“In short, I decided it was time to try something else in my life, do a little Gosselin detox and occasionally go out on Monday nights,” Min wrote. “There are no immediate plans, except to enjoy the month of August, take some tennis lessons, and maybe finally edit my wedding album.”
She’s the second high profile celebrity magazine editor in a week to make a bold career move. Last Friday, Min’s predecessor at US Weekly, Bonnie Fuller, announced that she was abandoning efforts to launch her own startup and instead going to lead HollywoodLife.com, the celebrity and entertainment site owned by Jay Penske’s Mail.com Media Corporation.
Min’s contract at US was said to expire at the end of the month. In her letter, Min pointed out that the magazine’s rate base – now 1.9 million – is nearly double what it was when she started.
But what she didn’t mention is, like most consumer magazines, US’ ad pages have been in a sharpening decline for more than a year. Through June, ad pages for US were down 9.8 percent, according to the Publishers Information Bureau — that, after an 8.1 percent decline in 2008.
To be fair, US’ ad slump has been less pronounced than most. Ad pages for consumer magazines nearly 28 percent during the first half of the year.
Here are US’ annual ad pages during Min’s tenure:
2009 | *826.33
2008 | 1,791.45
2007 | 1,949.21
2006 | 1,931.18
2005 | 1,802.19
2004 | 1,638.21
2003 | 1,283.99
* Through June
As for Min’s next move, who knows? An "insider" told the New York Post yesterday that Min is "in Los Angeles right now on vacation and taking meetings with TV executives looking for her next gig." PaidContent’s Rafat Ali speculated via Twitter that she may be headed for a reunion with Fuller at Mail.com, although the uncertainty she expressed in her memo sounded sincere.
The full text of Min’s letter, via Mediaite:
Dear US Staff,
After six years as the editor of US Weekly, I am leaving. In short, I decided it was time to try something else in my life, do a little Gosselin detox and occasionally go out on Monday nights. There are no immediate plans, except to enjoy the month of August, take some tennis lessons, and maybe finally edit my wedding album.
With more certainty, I can say that it has been an immense privilege working with every last one of you here. What we’ve done with this magazine is unprecedented — you have helped make US Weekly into one of the greatest success stories in publishing history. Back in 2003, the year many of you started with me, the magazine’s rate base was 1 million; now it is nearly double that at 1.9 million; we didn’t have a website until recently, and now it’s one of the biggest entertainment websites with more than 6 million unique visitors a month (up 328 percent in just one year!). Along the way the magazine has received countless accolades – among them Ad Age’s Magazine of the Year and Top Performer of the Decade by Cappell’s Circulation Report.
Most significantly, you’ve made US Weekly into a phenomenal buzz machine, synonymous with all things pop culture and celebrity. In "Chasing Cool," author Gene Pressman of Barneys devotes a section lauding US Weekly. He calls our magazine “the iPod of its industry,” adding, “like crack on newsprint, it made an entirely dormant segment into a monster loyal audience.” Indeed, it’s always been one of the most gratifying things about working here: to toil for a magazine not in vain, but for one that 13 million people actually read every week.
Last year, the L.A .Times said, “It’s US Weekly’s world, we just live in it.” And now I will be just a spectator looking in. But I speak from the heart when I say thank you for all you’ve done: the endless hours, never saying no to any request, and for being all around fun, kind and generous people with whom to spend my days and nights. I’ve never worked with such a fiercely talented, dedicated, collegial and quality group of people. You made being here pure joy and sorely will be missed.
Now, please join me in congratulating executive editor Mike Steele in his promotion to interim editor in chief. Mike will be returning early from his vacation on Wednesday to begin work.
As for me, my last day will be some time next week — and hopefully we will have some kind of celebration (that doesn’t involve Sterno!).