LONGTIME 'ADVOCATE' EDITOR TO LEAVE LPI MEDIA

Judy Wieder, Who Rose to Editorial Director, Will Not Be Replaced

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- LPI Media, the parent company of Out and The Advocate magazines, will lose one of its longtime guiding figures March 22, when Judy Wieder, exec VP-editorial director, will leave the company.
Judy Wieder's departure comes at a time of uncertainty for LPI.

The departure of Ms. Wieder, who became The Advocate’s first female editor in chief in 1996, comes at a time of uncertainty for LPI, which was acquired last November by San Francisco’s PlanetOut for about $32 million.

Her position is not being filled; instead, editorial operations at The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler and Alyson Books will report to Bob Cohen, LPI’s interim president. Out has also been without an editor in chief since Brendan Lemon left last October. The company has identified its choice for a successor, but has not sealed negotiations.

Increased competition
In a larger sense, moreover, gay media faces increasing competition, both from new gay platforms like Viacom’s Logo network and from “mainstream” media that increasingly includes gay content. The company is trying to keep up through ventures like The Advocate’s hour-long program on Logo.

Mr. Cohen, in a note to staff yesterday, said Ms. Wieder’s editorial vision and leadership will be missed. “Please join me in rallying around the editorial leaders who will carry our magazines and Web businesses forward,” he wrote. “They -- and I -- will need your full support and encouragement in the months ahead.”

At The Advocate, Ms. Wieder oversaw a big redesign in 1997 meant to modernize the title for the Web age and emphasize its news coverage over celebrity interviews. She joined The Advocate in 1993. She had previously been a founding editor at Genre, the gay men’s lifestyle magazine, as well as a Grammy-winning songwriter. She could not be reached on deadline this morning, nor could LPI executives.

Mixed results
Out magazine reported an average paid circulation of 127,994 during the second half of 2005, up 9.3% from 119,374 during the same period a year prior, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Its ad pages were relatively flat last year, falling 0.7% to 796.8, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

The Advocate’s paid circulation totaled 120,926 during second-half 2005, up 9.8% from 109,089 a year earlier. Its ad pages grew 3% to 953.3 during 2005.

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