She staff win praise then face sack

By Alyson Fixter

Iconic Cosmopolitan founder Helen Gurley Brown wrote to staff at She
magazine lavishly praising their title, just days before the entire
team was told they faced the sack to make way for a relaunch.

Nearly 30 staff at NatMags’ She, including Terry Tavner, its editor
of 15 years, will lose their jobs at the end of August so the title can
be revamped to appeal to a “more sophisticated” reader.

The
magazine will now be edited by Matthew Line, former editor of Homes
& Gardens, whose deputy will be Charlotte Ross, previously Saturday
editor of The Independent.

Gurley Brown, who founded She
stablemate Cosmopolitan in the USA in the 1960s and has been described
as “the original Cosmo girl”, last week told Tavner in a letter: “I
have known the magazine since it was a baby and I’ve never seen it this
wonderful”.

The letter arrived two days after She staff were told
of their impending redundancies and informed they wouldhave to reapply
for positions on the new-look magazine.

A member of staff at the
title told Press Gazette: “The editor read the letter out to the whole
office because it was so complimentary. It’s really detailed, even
drawing attention to particular photos and features she likes.

“We’re
all chuffed because she’s such an icon and she agrees with us that the
magazine is the best it’s ever been, but it’s also sad that it’s come
at this time.”

Gurley Brown’s letter ends: “I think this is the
most pretentious letter I’veever written – nobody asked me to critique
your magazine – but as I read it, I kept making marks on the pages
because I wanted to tell someone how good they were.”

NatMags is
known to have been in development of a secret project for some time,
with Matthew Line at the helm, but staff said they had no idea the
project involved She.

The magazine sells 180,000 copies a month, well behind stablemates Prima, Company, Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan.

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