Glamour’s new editor-in-chief Samantha Barry says she isn’t afraid of change. She had better not be; in her first foray into magazines, the CNN and BBC veteran is embarking on a comprehensive redesign of the 79-year-old title, which has struggled to gain traction in an increasingly digital media world.
Barry joined the challenged Condé Nast title just three months ago, succeeding Cindi Leive. The former editor led the publication for 16 years, turning it into what was at one point Condé Nast’s most lucrative title. The magazine still has the largest circulation at the publisher — an average of 2.3 million in the second half of 2017, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Barry was a surprising choice, coming to the magazine with no significant prior print experience after working as the executive producer for social and emerging media at CNN.
Barry’s experience attracting online audiences is key to her main goal: making Glamour relevant again. Glamour rarely generates buzz online, and risks losing both print and online readers to fast-growing upstarts like Refinery29 and Bustle. Other Condé Nast publications are grappling with the same problem. At Teen Vogue and Self, that meant shuttering print editions to focus on digital readers. A company spokesperson has denied rumours of more cutbacks in frequency coming to other titles, as well as any plans to change Glamour’s print frequency.
Since the 2016 election, fashion and beauty publications have embraced feminist positions and politics to vie for audiences online. Hearst’s Cosmopolitan has the biggest audience, New York Magazine’s The Cut is distinguished by its slate of writers. Indie title Gentlewoman is hosting intimate events.