What Happened Between E. Jean Carroll and Elle Magazine?


But the days of lucrative magazine contracts are largely a thing of the past. When Ms. Garcia took over Elle, Ms. Carroll was being paid $120,000 a year for 12 columns of about 1,800 words each. (At about $5.50 per word, that was more than twice the $2 per word usually paid to Elle’s freelance writers for the print magazine.)

When Ms. Carroll’s contract came up for renewal during Ms. Garcia’s first year, editors went to bat for Ms. Carroll, arguing that her column had become synonymous with the Elle brand.

Ms. Garcia gave Ms. Carroll a new contract: $60,000 per year for 12 columns of 900 words.

The changes at Elle, many of them in response to the economic challenges of the magazine industry, reflect big shifts at its parent company, Hearst, which is also facing tension with employees who recently unionized.

In 2018, David Carey, the president of Hearst Magazines for eight years, stepped down. Troy Young, who had previously overseen the company’s digital efforts, succeeded him. Since then, most of the high-profile editors who served under Mr. Carey have left. (In 2019, Mr. Carey was named by Hearst Corporation as senior vice president of public affairs and communications.)

Ms. Garcia has worked to put her own stamp on Elle. She has made the magazine more visual, and amped up its social media presence. She has dedicated less space to political features, which had been a hallmark of Elle under its previous editors. Its annual women-in-Washington “Power List” magazine feature and awards dinner was canceled under Ms. Garcia.

She has also worked hard to avoid ruffling feathers, according to some current and former employees. In a 2017 article about Whitney Wolfe, the founder of the dating app Bumble, several paragraphs detailing her perspective on feminism were removed from the digital version of the article after Ms. Wolfe complained that the quotes were taken out of context, according to four former staffers who were aware of the discussions. (Later, Hearst worked with Bumble to start Bumble Mag.)


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