Condé Nast Chooses a Digital-First Editor to Run Glamour

Samantha Barry, most recently the executive producer for social and emerging media at CNN Worldwide, was named the new editor in chief of Glamour on Monday. It will be her first job at a magazine.

When Samantha Barry was growing up in Ireland, she and her family would gather around the television to watch the 6 o’clock news. They also told stories around the dinner table and read a number of newspapers and magazines, including Vogue and old issues of Time.

“Irish people are such storytellers,” Ms. Barry said in a telephone interview on Friday.

Ms. Barry has continued to tell stories from places as near as New York and as far as Papua New Guinea in a career that has included stops at the BBC and CNN. And so, although she has never worked at a magazine, Ms. Barry had no qualms about the job she is about to undertake: Condé Nast has named her the next editor in chief of Glamour.

When she assumes her post next week, Ms. Barry — who was most recently the executive producer for social and emerging media at CNN Worldwide — will become the eighth editor of the women’s title since its founding in 1939 and the first person with an exclusively digital and television background to lead a Condé Nast magazine. She will succeed Cindi Leive, 50, who said in September that she was leaving the magazine after 16 years at its helm.

Both Ms. Barry, 36, and the company that hired her are aware that she may be perceived as an atypical choice for the job.

But with her appointment, Condé Nast is signaling, once again, that it is barreling headlong into the digital age — if as much to reach its screen-obsessed consumers as by the financial realities of the magazine industry.

In a statement, Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of Vogue and Condé Nast’s artistic director, said Ms. Barry was “fearless like so many leaders of the moment.”

“We recognized at once that Sam would be the perfect editor for a new more ambitious era of Glamour’s future,” she said. “We cannot wait to see her vision unfold.”

Last year, Condé Nast brought in $100 million less in revenue than it had in 2016, according to a person briefed on the company’s finances, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal financial matters at the privately held company. Its editors, as a result, have been asked to do more with less.

The company has reduced the print frequency of titles including GQ, Architectural Digest and Glamour, which it cut from 12 issues a year to 11, and shuttered the print edition of Teen Vogue. It has also restructured its sales and production teams and cut employees.

At the same time, the company has broadened its digital footprint, with sites like Vanity Fair’s The Hive, a hub for culture and politics, and Healthyish, which is focused on nutritious recipes. In October, the company introduced a site devoted to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, “them.”

Ms. Barry’s hiring is the second major change atop a Condé Nast title in recent months. In November, the company announced that Radhika Jones, the editorial director of the books department at The New York Times and a former top editor at Time magazine, would succeed Graydon Carter as the editor in chief of Vanity Fair.


Started by Condé Nast (the man himself) and originally called Glamour of Hollywood, Glamour has won numerous National Magazine Awards, including Magazine of the Year in 2010.

While it has not shied away from covering fashion, beauty and celebrity culture, the magazine has also transcended the frivolity sometimes associated with women’s magazines by reporting on politics, feminism, sexual health, abortion and rape. In 2016, Glamour endorsed a presidential candidate for the first time in its long history when Ms. Leive backed Hillary Clinton in a piece headlined “In This Election, I’m With Her.” That year it also published an essay by Barack Obama titled “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like.”

Like many similar publications, Glamour has expanded far beyond its glossy pages. The magazine’s website now has more than 11 million unique monthly visitors and some 15 million followers on its social media platforms.

“Under Cindi’s leadership, Glamour has become a beacon for American women like those who have fought so bravely to be heard this year — brilliant, entrepreneurial, a force for change, generous and, of course, always stylish,” Ms. Wintour said.

But while Glamour is still a dependable generator of revenue for Condé Nast, with a total circulation of more than 2 million, its newsstand sales have fallen sharply since 2014, from more than 200,000 to under 100,000.

In selecting Ms. Barry, Condé Nast is charting a future for Glamour, and the company as a whole, that is far less dependent on print.

Before joining CNN, Ms. Barry was a social media producer and journalist at BBC World News in London. She has also held newsroom positions for the Irish media outlets RTE, a national public service broadcaster, and Newstalk, a radio station.

“Samantha’s fluency in connecting with consumers in digital, social and video will give Glamour fans the content they love, and in ways that are most meaningful to them,” Robert A. Sauerberg Jr., the chief executive of Condé Nast, said in a statement.

But even if Condé Nast wants Glamour to stand for more than a print publication, the magazine still exists, and editing it is still part of the job description.

“At the end of the day, I bring to the table being an expert in content,” Ms. Barry said. “I also bring to the table the ability to pivot.”

And what about print? “I care about the brand and the magazine is a huge part of that brand,” she said.

But, she added, “Glamour is a brand — it’s not just a magazine.”

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