Is Print Next to Fold? F+W Media Ousts Editor-in-Chief Emily Gordon

print_oct09.jpgAfter shuttering much-loved I.D. magazine last month (on the day after a company-wide Employee Appreciation Day), F+W Media continues on its path to destroy a design niche that has been decades in the making. The company’s latest befuddling move? Ousting Emily Gordon from her post as editor-of-chief of Print, the 70-year-old design title that has managed to win back-to-back National Magazine Awards for General Excellence with a skeleton staff.

As you may recall, Gordon worked as managing editor of Print under Joyce Rutter Kaye before taking over the top editorial post in the fall of 2008. Under Gordon’s leadership, Print revamped its website and digital presence, building a Twitter following that exceeds 15,000. After our sister blog FishbowlNY reported Gordon’s departure yesterday evening, the likes of Steven Heller and Debbie Millman left comments praising Gordon’s “deft editorial hand” and balance of the print and digital realms.

As for the reasons behind Gordon’s ousting, one source close to F+W Media, which was purchased in 2005 by private equity firm ABRY Partners, points to management’s wish for “a different kind of leader for the Print brand.” Another source says the company is repeating the strategy it used with I.D., which shed top editors (Julie Lasky, Monica Khemsurov, and Jill Singer) and then was quietly starved of resources before F+W put the title out of its misery—a week before Christmas. “I don’t think Print belongs at a company that so little values content, its employees, or design standards,” wrote one anonymous tipster in reply to our tweet about Gordon’s termination. “I hope it can find a buyer who does.”

So what’s next for Gordon? “I finally have time to finish and sell my nonfiction book proposal,” she told us this morning. “I’m learning all I can about content strategy. And I’m wishing all my beloved friends and former colleagues at magazines everywhere strength, humor, and fortitude in the hard months ahead.”