Myrna Blyth: The End of the “Star Editor,” but not the end of the same damn argument

A Hazy Shade of Wintour.jpgSeven-sisters vet and NY Sun “Publishing” columnist Myrna Blyth takes a look around at a Jane-less Jane, less-than-starry Star and a magazine world that seems more teeny after Tina and decrees that the age of the “Star Editor” has drawn to a close. Today, she says, magazines are all about having a strong “format or formula” rather than “the creative vision or buzz factor of a highly publicized, highly paid editor in chief.”

Is it me or is this getting annoying? Why does everyone have to assume that the two are mutually exclusive? As I think I’ve mentioned, Jane was a success because it had both. Frankly, any founding editor who can’t establish a strong, stand-alone personality that can outlast his/her tenure isn’t such a star, anyway. Exhibit A: The New Yorker, which seems to have done all right over the years. This, by the way, is why Bonnie Fuller really was so good at Us: she established the template that lifted that title out of the doldrums and sent it soaring into the stratosphere (I remember realizing this when I saw a mag with an orange cover featuring Britney Spears that I just had to have). Janice Min was able to step into a well-oiled working machine and make it better. And newsflash: the fact that Min has a rep for being “hard-working,” “unpretentious,” and “a good manager” probably explains why my Us source can’t stop raving about how much they all love her. Buy your staff sandwiches, and they will go to the wall for you. It’s a different model than “scare them silly with a cold, icy glare” but it’s no less effective.

Blyth’s got all sorts of good stats in her piece; please go there to read them. But her central thesis – “magazine companies now seem to want editors who make money, not headlines” – isn’t news, it’s business. It’s the same reason why the much-loved Sassy folded way back when and it’s the same reason why “My So-Called Life” never made it past &#252ber-cult status. Like anything else, it’s a balance between quality, message, vision, hard work and luck; the true stars in any field know that.

Do You Know Me? The End of The Star Editor [NYSun]