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Reader's Digest Memo: Actually, We're Not Shifting in Conservative Direction

Eva Dillon shoots down claims in New York Times article.


Dylan Stableford By Dylan Stableford
06/19/2009 -14:43 PM






Earlier today, the New York Times published a story about the Reader's Digest Association, suggesting the publishers of its flagship magazine were "pushing it in a decidedly conservative direction."

Our story, also posted today, focused on the business decision by RDA to slash its rate base by 2.5 million copies and reduce its monthly frequency by two issues. We spoke with RDA Community president Eva Dillon, who told us "there is no big shift that we’ve done or plan to do editorially."

Executives at RDA insist that the Times' writer, Stephanie Clifford, got it wrong, so much so that Dillon sent an employee-wide e-mail today shooting down the Times' assertions.

Here's the memo, via ex-Portfolio writer Jeff Bercovici's Daily Finance blog:

June 19,2009
TO: RDA EMPLOYEES
From: Eva Dillon,
President, Reader's Digest Community

In today's New York Times there is an article about Reader's Digest. The article in part suggests that the brand has decided to shift direction editorially. I want to assure you that that is not what is or has been planned, and that the strategy to embrace our core values can be misinterpreted.

To clarify, neither the magazine nor the company is going in any direction other than what we are doing now. Reader's Digest has always been about the values of home, family, community, optimism and country, and certainly our values today are more than ever in step with America, especially during these recessionary times as people focus on the "back to basics" of family and home. What we did with the relaunch and redesign of the magazine and websites was to go back to the roots that made this company great by embracing and catering to our specific and unique audience -- and do that very well, which resulted in an ASME Award for General Excellence, the first ASME in 20 years.

In a challenging time for our industry, we are excited about the plan we've developed (outlined in my earlier memo yesterday afternoon) to take a leadership role and transform our business model to respond to changed consumer media habits by leveraging our unique global assets and addressing this new generation of media.

Please let me, or any other Executive Committee member, know if you have any questions.

Eva Dillon

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