Title Was Vice Chairman's Pet Project

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NEW YORK ( -- Rodale will cease operations of its Organic Style magazine as of the October issue hitting newsstands Sept. 20, according to the company.
Rodale is closing 'Organic Style' magazine.

The title currently has 38 employees, and a spokeswoman said that while some will be reassigned, "we don't expect to be able to retain all" and that those who leave "will be given generous transition packages."

Not viable
"The decision to cease publication was based on internal benchmarks we have established," said Robin Shallow, vice president for brand communication and public relations. "The magazine was doing well on many fronts, but we concluded that while so many of our efforts were very promising, in total, the magazine was deemed not to be a viable long-term business for us to pursue."

Pet project
The decision was apparently made by President-CEO Steve Murphy, and comes as something of a surprise. Although Organic Style had struggled to prove itself and suffered turnover in its editorial and business ranks, the 4-year old magazine was a pet project of Maria Rodale, vice chairman of the company and daughter of Chairman Ardath Rodale. Ms. Rodale ambitiously saw the lifestyle publication, which covered health, beauty, fashion, food and home decor, as a competitor to magazines such as Real Simple and O, The Oprah Magazine.

In a statement, Ms. Rodale said, "The market has changed since we launched in 2001. The organic movement is very strong, and will be written about across all our properties on a regular basis." She also said Rodale will continue to support the organic movement through its Rodale Institute and other philanthropic activities.

Shifting resources
Mr. Murphy is said to have wanted to shift resources to Women's Health, a newly launched spinoff of its highly successful Men's Health for which the company has high hopes. Privately held Rodale also publishes Prevention and Runner's World, among other lifestyle titles.

Launched in September 2001, Organic Style was published 10 times yearly with a rate base of 750,000. Its 309 ad pages through July of this year were a gain of 7.3% over the same period last year but off of a relatively small base. By comparison, O, The Oprah Magazine carried three times as many ad pages in the period.

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