RDA Hires Karol Nickell to Edit Home, Garden Titles

Reader’s Digest Association has brought on a seasoned consumer magazine editor to edit four of its home and garden publications, the latest in a series of changes at the folksy titles.

Karol Nickell was named to the newly created post of vp and editor in chief of the Home & Garden affinity, which includes Birds & Blooms and Country, after a stint as a consulting editor.

The founding editor of Meredith Corp.’s Traditional Home, Nickell was vp, editor of Meredith’s Better Homes and Gardens from 2001 to 2006. She’ll report to Alyce Alston, president of RDA’s Home & Garden and Health & Wellness brands.

The titles claim a combined circulation of 4.5 million yet have flown under the radar, owing to their homespun editorial voice and historic subscription-based model (the magazines began taking ads for the first time after RDA came under new ownership two years ago.)

Nickell said 1.3-million circ Birds & Blooms, which like the others titles is a mix of user-generated and expert editorial content, will add more expert material over time to give readers more specific and region-specific content.

She said RDA also is testing an online membership club that will let members get customized gardening and birding data. If the model works, it could be extended to other brands.