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Condé Nast Closes Self Magazine: Are You Sad About It, Or…?

Will you just read it online?

12.01.16
self-magazine-shutting-down-print-ashley-graham-man-repeller

The headline says it all: Condé Nast is closing Self Magazine.

According to WWD.com, “The publisher…said it would continue operating Self.com, and that executive digital director Carolyn Klystra would be named editor in chief.”

Before we get into our own feelings, a pause to consider that every time a magazine folds, people lose their jobs.

“The closure entails roughly 20 to 30 job cuts,” reports WWD, “including the termination of Self editor in chief Joyce Chang, who was brought on in 2014 to succeed the ousted Lucy Danziger. At the time, Chang was said to have signed a three-year contract, which is set to expire.”

As Self’s online team begins to absorb the work, subscribers will have to make a decision to either consume the magazine online or say goodbye. For those loyal to glossy paper, the online versions don’t always have the same resonance. They might seek the buzz elsewhere or realize, “I’ve actually grown out of this.” Like a child going off to college, this transition is inevitable for some publications (thanks to the principles of media Darwinism), natural for others, and almost always a little bit sad. There is inextricable nostalgia connected to the magazines we once collected.

But Self is a funny one in terms of personal impact. Were you emotionally connected to it? I wasn’t. Not even back in high school and college when I purchased it monthly along with Shape. For me, this magazine was always about one thing: fixing things — whether that be my life, mental state or body. This is where I got information about detoxes, smoothie strategies and crunches. Each new issue held the promise of a shiny resolution. Didn’t drop five in March? No worries — we’re going for ten in April! Buying Self was satisfying in the way that writing fresh to-do lists are. But I didn’t need to hold on to it. Never once did I refer to an earlier issue for inspiration like I still do with W, nor was Self my go-to for aspirational styling or fashion.

“Back then,” however, there wasn’t really anywhere else to get this kind of comprehensive, seemingly doable health information besides dedicated publications. Today, all that Self embodied is everywhere on the internet. Health and holistic wellness are so much more a part of our lives and pop culture than they ever were before, and now, thanks to the multitudes of accessible variations of this large “lifestyle” genre that exist, everything can be tailored to the individual.

Which begs the question: what is it in terms of health, wellness (or lifestyle) that you need and what to see? What still seems to be missing? What do miss? What do you want to read?

Ask a nutritionist what you should be snacking on. Then ask her about cheese.

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  • Rose Leger

    Yes, I am sad about it, because I am one of the 20-30 people who lost their jobs today.

  • Alanis

    What seems to be missing is more magazines that feature unretouched models! I completely agree with you on how the magazine was all about fixing things. Their covers always featured a retouched, slimmed down actress or model. Retouching has messed up our views in society. We work out, eat healthy, and then still wonder why we don’t look like the models on the covers. In reality even the models don’t look like themselves on the cover!
    We need more magazines that capture raw beauty and individuality!

  • Bee

    I currently have a subscription, albeit free after ordering something somewhere, to Self and really enjoy it. The content is always good and I like being able to flip through it quickly. I have, however, had the thought while reading it that the content is basically what I’d find on any good quality blog or fitness website so it is kind of hard to justify keeping it in print. Regardless, I always feel a bit sad when a print publication closes.

  • Adrianna

    I had Self subscription in high school, and it contributed to my negative body image. Not necessarily because of the retouched photos – but that it was my fault that I didn’t look like that because I didn’t do the exercise routines for six weeks.

    I ended my subscription when I realized it was suspect that there were two-page weight loss pill advertisements between “health” articles.

  • Rachel

    Well, what I’m saddened by is the rapidly changing media landscape. As a PR professional, these changes affect me immensely. There has been a huge decline in print publications (I’m from Canada and we’ve just closed 2 of our major magazines, and it seems as though others drop down from weekly to monthly, or monthly to quarterly…) and it’s quite frightening. As a regular woman, this saddens me as well. Looking at a screen does not even come close to comparing to the feeling of flipping through a magazine in your hands.

    • Anne Dyer

      Ditto – give me hot tea, a blanket, quiet and a magazine for the win.

  • Lucy Korn

    I find it interesting that while the health / wellness / fitness industry is booming the publications dedicated to it aren’t. Someone needs to create a publication that is like the wallpaper magazine for fitness, one that marries science, design and fashion. I’d buy that.

  • belladonna_16

    A long time ago (like, 20 years), I loved Self. It focused on health and happiness more than beauty and thinness (there used to be an ongoing feature about finding your “happy weight” that resonated for me). And then it got a new editor (I assume) and basically became an eating disorder how-to manual and focused almost exclusively on weight loss. And I distinctly remember a charming article that was supposedly about the horrors of illicit use of Adderall that was (again) a thinly disguised manual for obtaining Adderall for illicit use. I think that was when I quit reading forever. So…good riddance. There are enough things in the world to remind me to feel bad about myself.
    (I am sorry people lost their jobs; that sucks)

  • alien princess~

    I had my first (& only) fashion closet internship at SELF. RIP

    • Rebecca

      that was me at Lucky. RIP

  • Lis

    Fitness articles in a mainstream “women’s” magazine that have nothing to do with becoming smaller or more conventionally attractive, that feature models with muscle, and that recommend weights above 25# (with appropriate training beforehand for those new to exercise). I have only ever read a few issues of self and I always came away frustrated when they’d do things like instruct a “deadlift” with tiny rubber dumbbells. A start for the untrained, sure – but there was never any talk of progression or challenge and I find that typical (although things are changing!), patronizing, and very, very sad.

  • This is not surprising. I’ve been a subscriber for years, and it’s gotten shorter, more boring, and more identical each issue. We need fitness and wellness magazines with more of a woke social consciousness when it comes to bodies, race, socioeconomics, etc, and one that doesn’t constantly publish articles with advice or recommendations at odds with each other. I started a blog like this and then failed to keep it updated. A glossy that combines the “frivolous” with the smart, rather than those things always seen as oppositional when it comes to magazines, would be great. Like if Bitch and Self had a baby, we might have something worthwhile. Or if Bust got glossier.