As Condé Nast chairman Si Newhouse starts spending less and less time at headquarters, his employees — who create those highly anticipated issues of Vogue, W, and Vanity Fair, among other magazines — say the once-special workplace is starting to lose a little bit of its magic glimmer.
For example, the Frank Gehry-designed cafeteria on the fourth floor of 4 Times Square is, according to a story about Newhouse in The New York Observer, starting to look a little worse for the wear. "That was the symbol of the luxury of the place," one employee told the paper, who added that the food served there had also become less appealing. "I think they just stopped caring. I think something happened where they were like, 'I'm not spending any more money.'"
That something may be the downturn in the print advertising money the company used to enjoy, which has forced Condé Nast executives to examine other ways of making ends meet. Lucky Magazine, for example, will launch its own ecommerce site called myLucky on Aug. 17. (Vogue is still partnered with Moda Operandi, while GQ has a deal with Nordstrom.) Late last year, the company set up an entertainment division tasked with developing "television and online programming based on Condé Nast personalities, articles, and general brands."
But those new initiatives haven't started to make up for advertising revenue lost. One employee told the Observer that as a result, people who used to apply to the magazine in droves have started looking elsewhere for jobs.
"You do sense that maybe one of the weird by-products of the 'Death of Print' is that girls in sundresses don't all flock here quite as much," he said. "You sense a little bit the loss of that swagger, the feeling that 'I'm working in some special place.'"
Photo: Si Newhouse with Anna Wintour on Fashion's Night Out in 2011.