Country Living Gets New Editor, New Home in Birmingham

The mag's edit side will leave New York next year

Country Living is getting a new editorial team and new home base, publisher Hearst announced today. Rachel Hardage Barrett, currently executive editor of Time Inc.’s Southern Living, will take over as the magazine’s editor in chief, replacing Sarah Gray Miller, who is “leaving to pursue other projects,” according to a spokesperson.

Additionally, Country Living’s editorial side will be relocating from Hearst's headquarters in New York to Birmingham, Alabama (also the home of Southern Living and Time Inc.’s Lifestyle Group). “This is a chance for our editors to live the lifestyle they promote on the page,” explained Hearst Magazines president David Carey, adding that Barrett is “already deeply rooted in Birmingham.”

Barrett plans to start building a new editorial team down in Birmingham when she takes the reins on Nov. 1 (she’ll also have a hand in choosing the location of the new office), and around mid-March, operations will officially shift there. Until then, current staffers will continue working from New York, a spokesperson told Adweek, and some may be relocated within the company. Barrett, who was an editor at Real Simple for seven years prior to becoming executive editor at Southern Living, made the move from New York to Birmingham about three years ago.

While Country Living’s overall circulation of about 1.67 million remained steady throughout the first half of 2013, increasing by about 2 percent, the magazine’s newsstand sales suffered, dropping nearly 12 percent versus the previous year, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. The magazine’s publishing side, led by publisher and CRO Jane Wladar since April, has also had a challenging 2013, with ad pages dropping 14 percent between January and September, according to the Publishers’ Information Bureau.