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These are difficult times for Condé Nast. AdAge reported yesterday the publishing giant is planning to slash the ad sales group managed by Richard Beckman; today, Keith Kelly of the Post reports some of the company's flagship titles have seen a 30 to 40 percent decline in revenues, and the company has "taken a dagger to its corporate pension plan" in order to reduce costs. Meanwhile, the Observer's John Koblin reports chairman Si Newhouse and CEO Chuck Townsend have asked editors to trim their discretionary budgets (which includes items like messengers, first-class airfare, and car services), and says a broader round of job cuts is inevitable. Of course, it's hard for any editor to trim his or her own staff—and it can be difficult for top execs to take a step back and see the absurd spending when they're so close to it.

Fortunately, Fashion Week Daily compiled a little chart a few weeks ago that Townsend & Co. can refer to as they look over the excessive costs at one of the company's most profligate magazines, Vanity Fair. Does editor (and part-time restaurateur) Graydon Carter really need multiple assistants? Or 86 contributing editors? Or an "architecture consultant"?

We have a sneaking suspicion that if you cut out the masthead from the current issue and compare it to the one you'll be seeing in, say, July, you'll notice that Condé Nast has managed to reduce its ink costs as well.

Condé Slash: At 4 Times Square, ‘10 Percent’ New Budget Buzzwords [NYO]
Conde Nast Media Group Preps for Layoffs [AdAge]