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Why Conde Nast is closing Gourmet
The critically acclaimed food magazine gets the ax despite rising circulation.
 

This is a "sad day" for anyone who loves tasty recipes, "lush photography, and endlessly curious, immensely smart travel and food writing," said Sam Sifton in The New York Times. Condé Nast announced Monday that it is closing Gourmet (which another Times blogger described as "a magazine of almost biblical status in the food world"). The news came as a shock—the "literate, beautiful," 68-year-old magazine had a rising circulation, and was "widely thought to have been safe from the economy’s depredation."

"It’s not terribly shocking that Gourmet is now getting the ax," said The Wall Street Journal in its Speakeasy blog. Stricken by a deep advertising slump, Condé Nast just underwent a three-month study by McKinsey & Co. to see how it could cut costs (three other titles— Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, and Cookie—also will be closed). There are "similarities between Gourmet and Condé’s other food title, Bon Appétit—and in this economy redundancy is death."

To a casual reader, said Sheryl Julian in The Boston Globe, it seemed like Bon Appétit was the expendable one. Gourmet's superstar editor, Ruth Reichl, has brought the magazine many awards by focusing on publishing interesting articles. "Bon Appétit doesn't seem to care much about writing but seems to invest a lot in recipes"—if you can find them among all the food ads. "But the food ads have kept BA alive, and lack of them has made Gourmet a relic."

It's chilling to think what the food world will be like without Gourmet, said Gabriella Gershenson in Time Out New York. "What will young people today who love food aspire to? Cheaply won celebrity chefdom?" Reality TV? Blogs with nothing but restaurant gossip? Let's hope people who "crave quality" find a way to fill the void.

 

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