Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sanati out as editor of Chatelaine as part of latest Rogers management cuts

The most high-profile layoff in the latest round of Rogers cuts is the dismissal of Chatelaine editor Maryam Sanati, a highly respected journalist who was promoted from deputy editor in February 2008 after piloting the magazine through some difficult times in an acting capacity after the sudden departure of editor Sara Angel. Sanati presided over the relaunch and redesign of the magazine in time for its 80th anniversary in April '08. Her role at Chatelaine is being assumed by DianeDianne de Fenoyl who recently was named editorial director moving from being a managing editor at Maclean's.

As will be seen from the comments filed to the previous posting, many of the changes on the Rogers magazine side involve middle managers in trade publishing. In addition, the website for older Canadians, (ironically a finalist in the recent online publishing awards) is being discontinued.It was launched just in April this year by Rogers to compete directly with Zoomer Media's magazine and website in serving the 50+ market segment.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although there is a good argument to be made that that job has been cursed since Rona left it, Maryam really did herself in with that extraordinary lapse in judgement in publishing the peanut allergy piece. Ken had to see that as his opening for Diane.

5:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, Anonymous (1), although you might want to note that the correct spelling is "Dianne" (blog writer, please take note as well. Patricia Pearson may well be experiencing a moment or two of anxiety over her ill-judged piece, one would think.

6:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think that with all of the controversial Maclean's covers Ken's done that one point of view piece (pretty balanced one too) on food allergies would have "done her in"? this is pure Ken Whyte bloodletting. Sanati is exceptional. she'll be missed.

6:09 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt that had anything to do with it. She would have been gone either way. She was doomed the minute Segal put Ken in charge.

8:11 am  
Anonymous CalgaryNancy said...

As a parent of a child with peanut anaphylaxis, I didn't know who Maryam Sanati was until that article came out. It seems that Maryam is a good journalist and has been a great editor of Chatelaine since she took over in 2008. It is too bad that many people (like me) will only know who she is because of the peanut allergy story. However, since the misinformation in that piece could potentially cost young lives, Rogers was smart to let her go.

12:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The peanut piece had nothing to do with it. Bet anything Ken has a replacement in the wings. DeF will only pave the way. Thinking maybe Lianne George?

12:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lianne George is a decent guess, but she *just* started a new job -- second in command at Canadian Business.

12:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would hardly count Sanati's firing as part of a broader layoff story. Layoffs are presumably job cuts. The EIC job is not being eliminated.

The disarray that has befallen Chatelaine also coincides with the arrival of Kerri Mitchell as publisher. It can't be good news for Kerri that Ken Whyte has been given authority over her in regards to Chatelaine. And it can't be good news for Canadian women that Whyte will be driving this bus... He'll dumb it down and tart it up I reckon.

4:33 pm  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

I take your point, but we don't know that the EIC position has not been eliminated. For now, someone called executive editor is in charge. And the company has eliminated publisher positions right and left by consolidating them under one or two people.

4:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Calgary Nancy - there's no misinformation that could cause death in that piece. There may be factoids of dubious accuracy you don't like and there's certainly a snarky tone, but at no point does the writer dismiss the existence of serious peanut allergies. Many of her points can be found, albeit made with a far different tone, in Allergic Living itself. Your exaggerations do you and your cause no favours, as does your apparent happiness at the fact that a talented young woman has lost her job because of this.

6:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken has officially removed Kerri. And he may tart it up but he's not one for dumbing down.

6:56 pm  
Blogger Dean Tudor said...

I taught (with tenure) at Ryerson when Segal was "President" ... He tore apart the Journalism school. It is a wonder it survived.

7:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calgarynancy stick to the allergy boards please. Allergic Living has a good one.

8:01 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The peanut allergy piece? Let's focus on Maryam's track record shall we? This dismissal has nothing to do with that ONE piece. C'mon. Look at the big picture. She is simply Ken Whyte's collateral damage. I feel for the mag as well. I'm sure she has and already has put in place great ideas and long-term plans for Chatelaine.

9:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very sad news. I am a big fan of Maryam's and think she is an impeccable example of top-notch journalism in our industry (except for her decision to run that peanut piece--but it did get a lot of people talking!).

10:11 am  
Anonymous FlyOnWall said...

Heard that Segal put pressure on cause the peanut article didn't sit well with him. Dance puppets dance...

11:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree with the peanut opinion story at all (several people in my family have a life or death peanut allergy) but there was nothing in it that wasn't true. If an editor gets fired over this, what is left in our industry?

2:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People, put the peanuts away! That story had nothing to do with Sanati's demise. She was a marked woman from the moment (heck, before!) Ken took the reins. He wouldn't have been handed them if all had been well and that was in the works well before the peanut butter hit the fan. Segal's been heard to say that Chatelaine is broken. Newsstand sales are off and have been since 06. The celeb cover strategy is a disaster. Maryam didn't cause the problems, but she apparently didn't solve them either. Mitchell can lead a sales team--apparently--but she's no editorial genius, so she's been pushed over to oversee marketing efforts on mags that are editorially sound--Today's Parent, Flare--while Ken "the Reader Whisperer" gets the job of re-establishing Chatelaine's connection with its readers. The one problem in all of this? Ken's built his rep by adding provocation and controversy to the editorial mix (when do you want to bet Rebecca Eckler gets a regular column in Chatelaine?)--but that's not the right approach for women's magazines. Chatelaine's readers want connection and warmth. And nobody on the current team gets that.

3:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the winner is...Jane Francisco. Though it depends on how you define winner.

4:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jane Francisco is the new EIC. Smart choice

4:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like they just wanted Jane Francisco.

5:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear commentary about her replacement: why she was chosen, what brougth her there, etc.

6:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When would Jane Francisco have been in line? Who is now in charge at SAH?

6:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would think the peanut allergy article would not have been the deciding factor. It may POSSIBLY have been the final push, but even that would be a stretch. I can't imagine that specific error in judgement on its own (and yes I'm one of the ones who thinks this article was a huge error in judgement) would have been enough to fire anyone - SW

6:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Jane has a passion for journalism, a strong track record of success, and high-level experience with prominent Canadian magazine brands.She has an intuitive understanding of what Canadian women want, and we are confident she will serve Chatelaine's readers very well." - Are we to take that these are qualities NOT possessed by Maryam Sanati??? Wasn't Maryam's hiring supposed to put an end to the revolving EIC door and its disastrous effect on the magazine's rep? So much for that. That hole is deeper than six feet now.

7:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't Jane Francisco at Style at Home for a whole 2 minutes?

8:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moving Cameron Williamson over to Glow now makes slightly more sense, though I still think it's nuts (but not peanuts). Golly, anyone think we'll be hearing the announcement of Sandy Kim as the new AD of Chatelaine any day now?

10:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course Sandy Kim will be her AD and the rest of the Wish team will fill the remaining profiles. Think of it like Rogers just bought Wish but didn't have to pay St.Joe's one cent.

12:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a fun fact: Jane's allergic to peanuts.

1:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahem... I posted earlier that with Ken in charge he'd tart it up and dumb it down. OK, with Francisco the EIC - someone with *no* journalistic chops (I reckon her "passion for journalism" means she's hot for Stromboulopoulis??)it's clear he has no problem dumbing it down.

Countdown to Eckler entrace begins.

Whyte may know magazines, but he don't know women's magazines.

12:43 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After Francisco abandoned Roger's for St. Joseph's Wish to initiate a competitor, and left them with a hemorrhaging and directionless Glow – it's certainly odd that Roger's memory is so short.
And one would also figure after only a few months service at Transcontinental her commitment and loyalty to an employer would also be even further suspect.
It seems the musical chair at Chatelaine is certainly suitable.

11:50 am  
Anonymous Lee said...

Anonymous: while I expect you're right about Maryam's sacking having little to do with the peanut story, I have to jump to Calgary Nancy's defense for a moment here. Telling her to stick to the allergy boards seems rich when you have been willing to enter into an allergy discussion about which you clearly know and care too little. There was at least one significant factual error in Pearson's piece: she reports that there have been no allergy deaths in Ontario schools since the 1980s, when in fact there have been none since 1994. And while her piece may not question the existence of serious allergies, her suggestion that the allergy phenomenon has been overblown could easily cause parents to relax their routines and send peanuts and nuts to school more often. Nothing in Calgary Nancy's response, including her worry about potential loss of life, seems overstated to me. But I'm an allergy parent. What the heck do I know, and how dare I stray onto this blog?

11:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares about Chatelaine... More is the better women's magazine!

4:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is "allergy parent" seriously a demographic term now?

Am I supposed to care abut "allergy parents" or allergy kids more than other parents and kids?

This whole peanut thing is ridiculous. Amazingly, articles on a peanut allergy is not a determining factor in the hiring and firings of high level staff.

2:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't realize this happened until I opened my May Issue. I am SO upset! I really liked Maryam and read every word of her letter each month. I personally will miss her.
P.S.: both my son AND my husband have peanut allergies.

10:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I received a letter from Mr. Segal admitting that the peanut allergy article did not sit well with him. What was most concerning to many people was the headline on the front cover of the issue: "The Making of the Peanut Allergy Myth." Peanut allergy is not a myth. Presumably, Ms. Sanati approved that misleading, inflammatory tagline.

4:08 pm  

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