Thursday, July 3, 2008

`Cosmopolitan''s Historic Harper's `Bazaar' And `Redbook' Connection

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

In addition to owning Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping, historically, prior to 1992, Hearst also marketed two other magazines to women readers in 1992 that posed as competing magazines on your newsstand. Harper’s Bazaar—a women’s fashion magazine—had been owned for over 50 years by Hearst, but the previously competing Redbook—whose circulation was 3.7 million—had only been purchased by the Hearst media conglomerate in 1982.

In the early 1990s, the men who controlled Harper’s Bazaar at Hearst dismissed several Harper’s Bazaar editors and the fired editors then filed age-discrimination claims against Hearst. Ten Harper’s Bazaar staff members had all been suddenly fired by the multi-billion dollar Hearst conglomerate on the same day in 1992.

Although Redbook poses as a magazine that competes with Cosmopolitan, its editor in the early 1990s, Ellen Levine, had previously worked at Cosmopolitan. And according to New York magazine’s July 27, 1992 issue, at Cosmopolitan it was “assumed” that then-Redbook editor Levine would “eventually succeed Helen Gurley-Brown as Cosmopolitan editor,” even though Redbook is supposed to be a magazine that competes editorially with Cosmopolitan for women readers. [In 2008, Redbook’s former editor, Ellen Levine, is, indeed, now the editor of Cosmopolitan, coincidentally].

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Cosmopolitan’s Historic Esquire Connection