Ladies’ Home Journal Ends ‘Regular’ Publication After 131 Years

The title moves to a special-interest quarterly this fall.

By Steve Cohn
04/24/2014

Ladies’ Home Journal, a gem of the American publishing community during much of its 131 years, will end its 10-times-a-year frequency in July and convert to a newsstand-only special interest quarterly publication this fall. In its new format, the New York-based Ladies’ Home Journal will relocate to parent Meredith Corp.’s Des Moines, Iowa headquarters.

While LHJ.com is continuing, Meredith communications director Art Slusark confirmed to min that the entire editorial staff was laid off, including six-year editor-in-chief Sally Lee. Lee also serves as the Meredith National Media Group New York editorial director.

Also out is nearly three-year Ladies’ Home Journal publisher Diane Malloy, but Slusark said that she and others on the business side could yet still secure positions within the company.

Although the 3.2 million rate-base title will forever be remembered as a member of the women’s-service magazines’ "seven sisters" (Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Woman’s Day are the five survivors), it morphed considerably from treating its audience as "gentle readers" in the 19th century to using social media as sources for writers and content since 2011 under Lee.

But that could not stem the advertising losses with pages more than halved between 2009 (1,269.82 ) and 2013 (614.64). The Jan.-through-May differential is a poor -23.36%.

Ladies’ Home Journal survived an earlier crisis in 1982 when Charter Communications all but gave it away to Family Media as "homemaking" was becoming archaic. The monthly quickly prospered under 1981-2002 editor-in-chief Myrna Blyth (now AARP editorial director), and the late Family Media CEO Bob Riordan was said to have made a handsome profit when he sold the magazine to Meredith for $96 million in 1986. Family Media shut down in 1991.

Blyth, who launched Ladies’ Home Journal spinoff More in 1997, is among the magazine’s notable alumnae. Another is Donna Kalajian Lagani, who was publisher from 1988-1994 before moving to her current position as Cosmopolitan publishing director.