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Condé Nast Builds Up Digital Teams At W, Self

Photo: W

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W magazine is gaining an executive digital director, an associate news editor, an assistant digital editor, a digital culture editor, and a digital photo editor, which ups its current digital staff from five to ten employees, according to Fashion Week Daily.

Jun Harada, a former Condé Nast entertainment executive, is coming on as the site's executive digital director. Ally Betker, W's new associate news editor, comes from WWD, and Stephanie Eckardt, the new assistant digital editor, was formerly an editorial assistant at New York Magazine's The Cut. The digital photo editor, Biel Parklee, and digital culture editor, Fan Zhong, were both promoted from within the magazine.

The new hires are coming on just as W wrapped its highest traffic month ever in December and pulled in a 58% increase in digital revenue throughout last year.

"W is known for its provocative stories, immersive imagery, and addictive videos," W's editor-in-chief Stefano Tonchi told FWD. "Now we are able to produce more content across platforms, while maintaining a truly differentiated point of view." The report notes that W plans to double down on its video efforts, and launched a new series, "Casting Call," in January in partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment.

W isn't the only Condé Nast magazine looking to staff up on the digital side — Self had openings for seven digital positions in January, and, according to its March 2016 masthead, currently has twelve people working on its digital team. Comparatively, the December 2015 masthead listed just four people working on Self.com.

All of this points towards Condé Nast's attempts to grab an increasingly digital audience and position its brands better online, which, as of late, has resulted in a ton of layoffs.

At the American Magazine Media Conference last week, WWD reports that Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg said his employees should "lean forward into the change." When asked about further media consolidation, he said "I think it’s a natural outcome." He added: "It’s not something we’re interested in. Our goal is to be the best premium company — the best, not the biggest."