Ladies’ Home Journal to Cease Monthly Publication

Ladies’ Home Journal, one of the longest running publications in America, has announced that they will cease monthly publication after 131 years in business.  The publication’s owner, the Meredith Corporation, announced that the magazine’s final monthly issue will run this coming July.

Known as one of the “Seven Sisters” of women’s magazines, including Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Woman’s Day and Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal has seen a substantial decline in subscriptions in the past few years.  Ad sales have also continued to decline with a 17% drop in 2013 alone.  The publication announced that subscribers will be offered other subscriptions as a substitute.

The entire staff of 35 people will be laid off, including Editor-in-Chief Sally Lee as the production shifts from New York to Des Moines, Iowa.  Ladies’ Home Journal will continue to run as a quarterly publication and as a website, but due to a nearly 50% decline in subscribers over the last half-century the decision was made to cease monthly publication.

Company spokesman Art Slusark told The New York Times that the decision was not an attempt to follow an audience that had moved online, but was due to a lack of advertising sales.  The publication still has a circulation of 3.2 million and the Meredith Corporation is hoping that readers will continue to follow the publication online.

“It was not a consumer issue,” Slusark said to the Times, “but an advertising one.”

The loss of Ladies’ Home Journal as a monthly print publication is one example of a continuing trend in print publications shifting to an online audience.  Founded in 1883, Ladies’ Home Journal quickly became a frontrunner in publications directed towards women who stayed at home and raised children.  In 1904, Ladies’ Home Journal became the first publication to sell 1 million copies of a single issue.

“You can’t overestimate the importance of those magazines,” said Robert Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University to The Wall Street Journal.  “They were a connection to a larger culture that explained how to decorate, how to raise children, and all the rest of it.”

After Thursday’s announcement, only 5 of the “Sister’s” magazines remain in publication.  The first to cease publication was McCall’s back in 2002 after the name was changed to Rosie under the editorial direction of entertainer Rosie O’Donnell.

“I wanted a magazine that celebrates real women, that understands that they care about more than waistlines or the latest makeup styles or fashions, that they want to be relevant,” O’Donnell said during and interview with People.com.

But after a highly publicized legal battle between O’Donnell and the publisher, the magazine was discontinued.

Slusark stated in the interview with The New York Times that magazines with more focused titles have more success.  He pointed to Allrecipes magazine, EverDay with Rachel Ray and EatingWell as examples of success for their focused direction.

“What we have seen is these entrants are very focused on food, or particular decorating style, or spirituality,” he said.

About Sean Flynn

Sean Flynn is a recent graduate from City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. His work has appeared in The Buffalo News, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times 'Fort Greene Local', The Daily Meal, and FoxNews.com.
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