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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Metcalf’

Donovan Hohn Exits Harper’s For GQ

The staff shakeup continues at Harper’s as senior editor Donovan Hahn has jumped ship for the features editor role at GQ.  Hohn, who managed the Readings section at Harper’s, joins recently dismissed literary editor Ben Metcalf and index editor Ted Ross on the magazine’s growing list of former employees.  Hohn seems content to be moving on from Harper’s:

I’ve long admired GQ‘s journalistic storytelling and am excited to be headed there.

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More Drama at Harper’s

We’ve been following the fight between the union at Harper’s Magazine and its publisher, John “Rick” MacArthur, since Gabriel Sherman first wrote about it. Today, Sherman says that the magazine’s union has ratcheted up the rhetoric. It has sent out a letter signed by 84 writers – including powerhouses Zadie Smith and Jonathan Lethem – that asks MacArthur to reconsider the expected firing of editors Ben Metcalf and Ted Ross. Both Metcalf and Ross are part of the union, which was created to change the direction MacArthur was taking the magazine.

Aside from asking that the editorial staff remain intact, the letter also requests that MacArthur opens up the magazine to outside funding. It closes with a “thanks for everything but you’re doing it wrong” statement:

We truly appreciate the space Harper’s Magazine has provided for our work and the generosity and commitment you have demonstrated over the past three decades. But we fear that in a publishing climate as precarious as this one, acrimonious staff relations and sustained losses of editorial experience can imperil any magazine. We do not claim to know the intricacies of the magazine’s financial situation, but it is our firm belief that its future depends on employing editors and researchers who enjoy a strong, secure, and harmonious working environment.

Your move MacArthur.

Harper’s Publisher Battles Own Staff

Take one magazine publisher who hates the Internet, add some staffers who have unionized because of the owner’s shady moves, and what do you get? Nothing good.

Gabriel Sherman at The Daily Intel reports that there is plenty of chaos at Harper’s Magazine, where John MacArthur, owner/publisher of the title, and staffers are tangled in a dispute that will only get worse. Apparently staffers at the magazine decided to unionize in response to several moves MacArthur has made – including firing Roger Hodge, the mag’s former Editor-in-Chief who sought to protect staff from cuts, and MacArthur putting his own name above senior editors on the masthead. When MacArthur found out about the union, he wasn’t very pleased, and now the staff is even more worried:

The Harper’s union has been locked in a bitter contract dispute with MacArthur since July. And now he’s trying to lay off Harper’s’ literary editor, Ben Metcalf, who’s worked at the magazine since the mid-nineties and who played a key role in the union drive — a move the union says is pure retaliation.

Oh and yes, there’s that whole hating the Internet thing. MacArthur flat out refuses to believe that their rival, The Atlantic, finally posted a profit only because it concentrated on boosting its web presence.

But MacArthur should keep doing what he’s doing, we’re sure fighting against staff and declaring the Internet worthless is a great model for success.

UPDATE:

Kathy Park Price, VP of Public Relations for Harper’s, just emailed us to say that there were some inaccuracies in Sherman’s report. You can decide who to believe. Price says, “The union was certified to represent Harper’s in late October.  Also, Harper’s agreed to meet with the union immediately, and has since waited for the union to schedule a meeting to begin negotiations.  The negotiations began one week ago, on January 7.  Rick [MacArthur] never contested the staff’s right to unionize.  He contested the inclusion of certain senior editors in the unit as being part of management.”