Staff feel 'hard done by' as Emap wields axe

The Face: trading suspended

Emaps closure of J-17 and suspension of The Face will cost 35 journalists their jobs and hit several freelances.

Emap closed teen magazine J-17 after 21 years this week to focus all its efforts on sister title Bliss. The company said it was “suspending” The Face pending radical reinvention, a buyer or closure.

Circulation of both titles has fallen although staff were said to feel “hard done by” as other titles in the Emap portfolio sell fewer copies.

J-17’s founding editor and now publisher of Word, David Hepworth, said: “You won’t find many teenage magazines that keep going that long, but these things have their era, I suppose.

Jackie, Blue Jeans and My Guy have all had their day. A lot of good people have worked on J-17 over the years. I obviously feel very sorry for those who are working on it, but it’s just very, very tough in that market.”

The original line-up included Louise Chunn as features editor (now editor of InStyle) and art editor Steve Bush, who later went on to launch Attic Futura.

J-17 was also one of the first magazines to use a covermount to drum up sales – it put a sweatband on the cover at the height of the aerobics boom in the Eighties.

The Face, which shot to fame as a style bible in the Eighties, will be suspended from the May issue. Andy Capper, editor of independent style magazine Vice, claimed its biggest problem was distribution and having to keep within the censorship boundaries of supermarket retailers and WH Smith.

“A lot of kids are so bored of mainstream media and celebrity culture that they go to underground record shops and skate stores to find magazines.

“Every month we put out 75,000 copies and have a 100 per cent pick-up rate. We don’t have to deal with newsstand censorship,” he said.

By Ruth Addicott

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