Terry Tavner has stepped down as editor of IPC’s flagship weekly magazine Woman’s Own and been replaced by former Woman’s Journal editor Elsa McAlonan.
The abrupt move is believed to have angered journalists who respected Tavner and believe she has been unfairly treated.
There is understood to have been growing editorial conflict over the direction Woman’s Own should take. A source said the magazine’s covers were often influenced by management and market research but they did not correspond with most of the editorial.
"It was supposed to be for the mid-market, Daily Mail-type woman yet management – not the editor – could not give up its addiction to putting soap characters on the cover, a downmarket device," a source said. "Soap covers are for TV mags but the conflict was clear on the cover and from page to page.
"IPC is a very political place and marketing reigns supreme over the editors. They decided Woman’s Own would follow market research that it should be a consumer guide but a consumer-mad audience is of a limited size. Naturally, they prefer to blame the editor so Terry got the bullet." Woman’s Own reported sales of 538,424 in the latest ABCs and a 6.8 per cent decline, in line with the rest of the sector.
McAlonan, who addressed the team for the first time this week, remained upbeat. "I believe the weekly market is the right place to be right now and I welcome this fantastic opportunity to use my experience to expand and develop Woman’s Own," she said.
McAlonan, who lost her job following the closure of Woman’s Journal two months ago, joined IPC in 1997 as deputy editor of Marie Claire. Prior to that she worked for the Daily Record and was launch editor of the Scottish Daily Mirror.
She was confronted with a similar situation when she was drafted in to boost sales at Woman’s Journal two years ago following the abrupt departure of former editor Marcelle D’Argy Smith.
By Ruth Addicott