Commentary

Anna Wintour Triumphs With Conde Nast Promotion To Content Czar

Condé Nast this week named Anna Wintour as the publisher's first Global Chief Content Officer in a triumph for one of the most influential editors in the history of magazines. The promotion didn't appear assured amid this year's reckoning with diversity issues, which stirred staff unrest and layoffs as the pandemic slammed the print business.
Wintour in October was the subject of an unflattering profile in The New York Times, always a center of Condé Nast envy, that questioned whether her steps to promote workplace diversity would be enough to quell critics and save her job as editor of Vogue and global content adviser for the whole company.

Condé Nast's titles include Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Bon Appétit and GQ.

Amid global protests against racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd during an arrest, Wintour in early June wrote an email to staff saying Vogue had been "hurtful and intolerant" and pledged to be more supportive of Black employees. Days later, Adam Rapaport quit as editor of Bon Appétit after a photograph of him wearing brownface for a Halloween costume years earlier resurfaced on social media.
There are signs that Wintour followed through on promoting diversity. For the first time, Vogue's marquee September issue featured a majority of Black contributors. Condé Nast in August hired publishing executive Dawn Davis as editor of Bon Appétit, the first Black woman to lead the food magazine.
It's not clear who will be the next editor of Wired magazine after Nicholas Thompson announced his resignation to take a job as CEO of The Atlantic. Filling the role would be another opportunity to diversify magazine leadership, especially for a publication focused on technology and culture.
“Anna’s appointment represents a pivotal moment for Condé Nast as her ability to stay ahead in connecting with new audiences, while cultivating and mentoring some of today’s brightest talent in the industry, has made her one of media’s most distinguished executives,” Roger Lynch, CEO of Condé Nast, said in a statement about Wintour's appointment.
The announcement came as Condé Nast said it had appointed several editors to new roles as global editorial directors of Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler and Vogue. The publisher plans similar moves for its other media brands next year.
Lynch said less than half of the company's revenue comes from print advertising, though he declined to discuss its financial performance for this year, The Wall Street Journal reported. Judging from the results reported by publicly traded publishing companies, print ad sales likely fell dramatically after the pandemic led to a broad pullback in media spending.
He told the WSJ that Condé Nast is forecasting double-digit revenue growth next year and plans to boost editorial spending by 25% in the next four years. Let's hope Wintour spends that money wisely.
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