Wrenching Bling Vs. People Dilemma Confronts Condé Editors

It looks like Condé Nast editors will indeed have to cut their budgets another 10 percent, as previously suspected, including through layoffs in both advertising and editorial. But what will happen to the swankness?

It's going up in smoke. The Observer reports that Condé higher-ups, hit by an advertising slaughter and finding their 5 percent cuts last fall inadequate, have ordered some magazine publishers to cut specifically from their "discretionary budget," which "includes items like messengers, first-class airfare, cocktail parties, car services."

Some magazine honchos have found a way to preserve bling money: Fire people.

Several publishers and editors, two sources added, are considering budget proposals where they’ll slice salaried positions as well. In October, publishers and editors simply eliminated unfilled jobs; this time, layoffs might be unavoidable.

Of course sometimes money for, say, a messenger is truly necessary to put out a magazine. And sometimes you just absolutely need a first-class plane ticket to help shake off that gross "I just fired a ton of people" feeling, or a giant, opulent Oscar party to feed your ego and promote your restaurant sell luxury advertising and "build the brand."

Balancing such absolute necessities with — What's it called? "Human compassion?" — is difficult, painful, and no doubt necessitates many lengthy lunches and company-sponsored martinis.