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Midwest Home lays off two of three staffers

The real estate collapse has punished magazines dedicated to domestic consumption, and at least one, Greenspring Media’s Midwest Home, let two-thirds of its staff go Friday.

Associate editor Alyssa Ford and art director Jessica Meihack lost their jobs; Greenspring president Steve Fox says editor Chris Lee kept hers. Freelancers and other Greenspring staffers will work with Lee to put out the title. Greenspring also publishes Minnesota Monthly and a number of custom titles.

Midwest Home plans to publish six issues in 2010, Fox says; it moved to the bi-monthly schedule this year. There were eight Midwest Homes in 2008 and seven this year, as the magazine reduced frequency.

“Simply, it’s a reflection of what’s going on in the housing industry,” Fox notes. “I’d rather have six strong issues than eight mediocre ones. You have to do it at a certain scale, and that affects full-time staffing.”

Ford, who notes Midwest Home’s numerous design and quality awards, says she’s thankful she has regular freelance assignments from the Star Tribune and Lifetime Fitness’ Experience Life, and wants the world to know she’s available for more. “I really love architcture and interior design stuff, and I might be in a good position to leverage that. But there are so few venues.”

Fox says there are no other changes at Greenspring, which elevated Minnesota Monthly managing editor Joel Hoekstra to editor last month.

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Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 11/02/2009 - 05:01 pm.

    (Of course it’s relevant – especially by its exclusion). Minnesota Monthly is a sister company to DB’s favored media entity, MPR, which is part of the “non-profit” arm of Greenspring Media. Greenspring’s execs (i.e. Bill Kling and Tom Kigin and their wives) use numerous tax loopholes to pay themselves additional income and somehow operate as a separate for-profit company, which then feeds “non-profit” MPR.

  2. Submitted by David Brauer on 11/02/2009 - 05:10 pm.

    Spencer, you’re working a bit hard to discern my favorite. Just a few days ago, I was disclosing taxpayer support for MPR and a few days before that was complaining they wouldn’t take our underwriting dough. Take solace that you’ve caused a few spit-takes in St. Paul with your comment!

    There are things I like about MPR, some I don’t, and I try to get to them all. BTW, I was just looking at MPR’s 990 today, but that’s literally a different story.

    Sometimes, an omission is just a guy focusing on the main thing in a blog post. That said, I’m glad you added the data point. But the link between this particular decision and APM/MPR salaries is a little hard to discern at this point.

  3. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 11/02/2009 - 05:49 pm.

    DB – you are correct. I do have trouble distinguishing David the blogger and David the journalist. When you blog do you set aside all journalistic principles or just some? How do you choose?

    One more thing: How is it MPR’s sister company Minnesota Monthly gets a pass for hiring so many free-lancers and interns? These are workers who don’t receive HR benefits. This layoff most probably will result in MM outsourcing even more, right? So – as you all sit back reading the latest issue of MM (or Midwest Home, etc.) in the comforts you require, remember – you are directly enabling scab labor practices. Yes, this may be a common practice among print publications. That doesn’t make it right – especially when the publication’s corporate executives are receiving government subsidized and very healthy incomes and the publication’s sister companies are receiving any government aid. (And, yes, perhaps this ties better to your blog on subsidizing the media.)

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