Southern Living has added two chefs to its roster. Robby Melvin has been named test kitchen rirector and Whitney Wright has been named deputy food director.
Prior to joing Southern Living, Melvin owned Salt Fine Catering in Birmingham, Alabama. He also taught at the Culinary Institute of Virginia and spent six years as a chef with Frank Stitt, a James Beard Award winning chef. Wright comes to Southern Living from Gilt Home and Gilt Taste, where she served as senior editor and site merchandising manager. Prior to her time there, she was chef de partie at Per Se.
“Robby is a Southern chef with serious pedigree, and as a husband and father, he’s also a dedicated home cook,” said Lindsay Bierman, editor-in-chief of Southern Living, in a statement. ”He will draw from his professional and personal experience to create authentic recipes that every Southerner will love. Whitney’s impressive culinary, editorial and digital experience will brilliantly serve our readers across platforms, including our cookbooks and how-to videos.”
Jenna Bush Hager, the Today show correspondent and daughter of George W. Bush, is joining Southern Living as an editor-at-large. The New York Times reports that she will pen articles about how to deal with being a daughter of one of the worst presidents of all time. Kidding!
Bush Hager is going to write a monthly column for Southern Living and contribute to the magazine’s The Daily South blog. Lindsay Bierman, Southern Living’s editor-in-chief, said he brought Bush Hager aboard because of her passion for the South.
“I did get the sense that her heart is still very much in the South,” Bierman told the Times. “I felt her passion for the South was going to translate into what she would do for Southern Living.”
Lindsay Bierman, editor-in-chief of Southern Living, says we’re in the midst of a southern renaissance that has brought sweet tea and red velvet ice cream to those above the Mason-Dixon Line. The lifestyle mag draws a wide readership from all over the country, and that goes for freelancers too. As long as your pitch has a southern connection, you could land a byline in the pub.
The magazine has recently undergone some slight changes, though it has been covering the same topics throughout its 56 years of history. “We’ve refined our look and honed our voice, and we’re continuing to make sure that we are staying true to our mission of being a true service book that has actionable content from cover to cover,” said Bierman. “It’s not just a dream book or an aspirational magazine.”
Ron King has been named associate publisher of Southern Living. King is rejoining the title after holding various positions there from 2005 to 2010. He is leaving his post as vice president of Time Inc.’s Branded Solutions to come back to Southern Living.
“Ron’s creativity and experience developing integrated sales strategies across all platforms, along with his deep knowledge of the Southern Living brand, make him an ideal partner as we continue to build momentum and grow our business,” said Greg Schumann, vice president/publisher of the glossy.
King will relocate to New York from San Franciso and report to Schumann.
Hunter Lewis has been named executive editor of Southern Living. Lewis comes to the magazine from Bon Appétit, where he most recently served as food editor, since late last year. Prior to his time there, he worked as kitchen director for Saveur for two years.
“Hunter’s talents as a storyteller, food stylist, editor, and cook will help us build on the excitement of today’s Southern food movement,” said M. Lindsay Bierman, editor-in-chief of Southern Living. “There’s also no doubt that his hands-on expertise withrecipe development will make the hundreds of dishes we publish each year taste that much better.”
Robert Perino has been named Southern Living’s new Creative Director. Perino was most recently with Budget Travel as its Art Director, and has previously worked at Field & Stream, New York and Men’s Journal.
At Southern Living Perino will oversee the brand’s stylings, from the magazine to tablets to special edition books.
Lindsay Bierman, Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living, said of Perino, “Bob brings a broad range of experience as a magazine maker, digital designer and creative visionary to Southern Living. His leadership of our art and photo teams will help us refine and grow this iconic brand across all platforms.”
Replacing Partilla at Southern Living will be Debbie O’Brien, who received a promotion from New York manager at the magazine.
Before joining Southern Living in 2004, Partilla (pictured) worked at Meredith Corp. at titles such as Country Home and Ladies’ Home Journal. O’Brien also joined Southern Living in 2004, and had previously worked at advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi.
Video: Chef, restaurateur and iVillage Food contributor Donatella Arpaia prepares her quick Sunday ragu at the launch party for iVillage.com/food
Last night at the Culinary Loft in SoHo, iVillage celebrated the launch of its newly revamped food destination, iVillage.com/food, with basil-limoncello cocktails, Web site demos, and a veritable Italian feast prepared by New York restaurant fixture and iVillage contributor Donatella Arpaia.
On the heels of September’s entertainment site relaunch, which Lauren Zalaznick, president of NBC Universal‘s Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, says spurred a spike in page views, membership, and message board activity, iVillage hopes to recreate that success with its latest makeover in the Food category.
“Almost three-fourths of all women who are on the Web rely on the Internet for meal planning and healthy eating,” said Zalaznick. “If we fill that gap… that’s how iVillage is going to win.”
Christina Bender, director of product development for iVillage, acknowledged, “We know competition’s stiff,” citing FoodNetwork.com, Delish.com, and MarthaStewartLiving.com as rivals. Bender said the new site’s secret weapon will be to “uncover what women are already saying” in the vibrant iVillage community of 20 million unique monthly visitors, bolstered by their unique access to NBC Universal’s “premier content,” which includes Bravo‘s explosively popular “Top Chef” brand.
“This is a community-centric site, not a user-generated site,” Zalaznick said. It’s “a big, rollicking portal that behaves like a series of niches.”
“You have to be able to adapt and keep up with the way women use media,” said chief content officer Angela Matusik, who says the revamp is meant to “modernize the message board” with new tools and ways to contribute to the conversation. Next up to go under the knife? The Astrology channel, followed by Health, Beauty and Family. And stay tuned, Matusik added, for a new iVillage social media community platform set to launch sometime in 2010.
Read on for a breakdown of the site’s features and fabulous food photos:
Real Simple will be debuting a new look with its November issue, on newsstands next week.
The new issue will feature 14 new columns, including “Trends Worth Trying” and the fitness column “15 Minutes And You’re Done.”
“Over the past ten years, our 8.8 million readers’ lives have evolved dramatically, and Real Simple is evolving with them,” said the magazine’s Managing Editor Kristin van Ogtrop. “When Real Simple launched a decade ago, a woman’s life didn’t include Blackberries, iPhones or blogs. With readership up significantly, and research confirming that rapid change and unlimited choice are complicating women’s lives more than ever, our mission has become even more relevant.”
The revamp sounds similar to one announced by Southern Livinglast month. Real Simple made sure to add that its ad pages are up 10 percent in the November issue from last year, while Southern Living saw pages increase by 12 percent. Looks like an update is good for business. But will readers follow?
When the October issue of Time Inc.‘s Southern Living hits newsstands next week, it will debut a new look and design meant to better serve the modern Southern woman.
The new look includes “a more graphic and compelling use of evocative photography” and “playful fonts,” the magazine said. The latest issue will also debut 15 new “editorial franchises” including “Made by Southern Hands,” a feature that highlights locally made products and “Mama’s Way or Your Way?” a comparison between traditional recipes the way your mama would have made them versus an updated version.
However, today Southern Living said its ad pages for its redesigned October issue are up 12 percent year over year, with advertisers like Elizabeth Arden, Vera Bradley, IKEA and Home Depot gracing its pages.