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July 16, 2008

Advertising Brouhaha At ‘The New Yorker’ Because Of Obama ‘Satire’ Cover

Will there be a financial back-lash against The New Yorker?

As it turns out, it might not be just the Obama campaign that’s bent out of shape over this week’s cover of The New Yorker.

Rumors have swirled inside Condé Nast that advertisers also were upset with the latest rhubarb, which depicts Barack Obama in Muslim garb and wife Michelle as a machine gun-toting radical.

Publisher Drew Schutte said he has indeed heard from people, but as far as he knows, none of them has been an advertiser – only disgruntled readers.

“Our numbers are the first telephone numbers listed in the magazine, so we’re probably getting a lot of the calls,” he said of the angry calls that have reached the ad sales department.

Asked how many angry calls had poured in, Schutte said he had no way of gauging.

While this type of controversy is the last thing a publisher needs in these troubled times, certainly if it gives advertisers pause, the timing is especially bad for The New Yorker.

The magazine is now among the most troubled magazines at Condé Nast, and it remains to be seen if the current controversy upsets the title’s tenuous hold on profitability.

Through the July 7 issue, The New Yorker is down a staggering 21.2 percent in ad pages to 699.69, compared with the same period a year ago, when it racked up 887, according to Media Industry Newsletter, which tracks the industry.

The magazine, whose parent company is S.I. Newhouse‘s Advance Publications, was estimated to have lost more than $175 million under his ownership before it finally turned a slight profit in 2002, when David Carey was publisher. At that time, it was pulling in about 2,200 ad pages a year.

Despite the uproar, embattled Editor-in-Chief David Remnick is garnering support from his immediate predecessor, Tina Brown.

“I thought it was a perfectly justifiable decision,” said Brown of the cover.

“I personally like it when magazines take on the issues of the day.”

Author: Keith Kelly/NY Post

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  1. I hope the New Yorker doesn’t suffer financially for their cover. It’s satire. It’s not funny and missed the mark, I think, but they don’t deserve a knee-jerk reaction like that.

    Comment by deannaizme — July 16, 2008 @ 5:41 pm | Reply

  2. Hi!

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    Comment by kristy4u — July 16, 2008 @ 5:55 pm | Reply

  3. Good point Deanna. I’ve been reading The New Yorker for about 10 years and have always enjoyed it – they have great contributors and thought provoking articles.

    Comment by Paulette — July 16, 2008 @ 6:50 pm | Reply

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