Rosie, a remake of the ailing women's magazine McCall's by none
other than Rosie O'Donnell, debuts April 2. At the helm is Cathy
Cavender, whose first move has been to target a younger demographic -
women ages 28 to 45 - with mothers in their 30s considered the core
readership. Also changing is the monthly title's cover price, which
publisher Gruner + Jahr has raised from dollars 1.99 to dollars 3.
Cavender explains that the higher cost reflects improvements, such as
more staff and better-quality paper. She is pleased with the changes but
takes a deep breath when you ask her about that 'other' new women's
title, Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine.
'Rosie is almost diametrically opposed to O Magazine,' she says.
'O is very internally directed; it's about finding your place in the
world, your place in yourself. This magazine is about enjoying your
family and your kids and being involved in the outside world.'
Comedienne O'Donnell serves as editorial director, and Cavender says she
comes in two to three times a week to suggest story ideas. O'Donnell is
planning to retire from The Rosie O'Donnell Show in 2002, but in the
meantime she will take ideas and incorporate them into the magazine, and
vice versa. However, Cavender warns PR people not to pitch the TV show
in order to get into the magazine.
'Rosie has been quite a good source of stories,' says Cavender, pointing
to a section of the magazine called 'Super Kid' that was adapted from a
show segment. It profiles high school seniors who have overcome odds and
been given a four-year college scholarship to recognize their
Cavender says humor will be key to the new magazine and lists a section
called 'Lighten Up' as an example. Features will focus on fashion,
beauty, decorating and crafts; and there will be two major celebrity
profiles per issue, as well as several one-page stories called
'Spotlights' that cover up-and-coming movie, TV and Broadway stars.
There will also be a section devoted to people's successes. 'We're
looking for stories about real people who are inspiring,' says Cavender.
'These are people who have overcome difficulty in their own lives and
have done something wonderful with that.' Another section called 'On
Being ...' features first-person accounts by people who have dealt with
afflictions, such as anorexia or compulsive gambling.
O'Donnell, who has three adopted kids, is creating a section called
'A-List Kids,' which profiles children up for adoption and provides
information for readers interested in adopting.
The magazine will include a Web guide called 'Site Seeing' and a column
about interesting mail-order purchases called 'Catalogue Hog.'
Other sections to pitch include 'Book It,' which features excerpts from
newly released books (the April issue highlights Marc Parent's memoir
Believing It All, a story about a stay-at-home dad raising two sons in
rural Pennsylvania), and 'Kid Picks,' which promotes the latest
Finally, in 'Say-So,' readers can write in and sound off on a topic of
their choosing in an unmoderated discussion. For PR people who see an
opportunity for a client in any of the magazine's sections, Cavender
says not to pitch her but to pitch individual editors (see sidebar). For
example, feature ideas would go to features editor Kristin McGinn, while
health ideas would go to health editor Ann Hettinger.
There is no main editorial phone number so phone pitches must start at
the Gruner + Jahr switchboard. In any pitch, Cavender says not to bother
sending photos. 'This is the most ambitious magazine I've ever worked on
and we aim high in terms of both the writing and the visuals,' says
Cavender, who has an editorial staff of 40.
Ogilvy media specialist Heather McMurtie says she'll be changing her
strategy accordingly once she sees the new magazine: 'I've always had a
really good experience with McCall's. We just have to watch to see how
it's going to change. We all know Rosie has more of a focus on
Editor-in-chief: Cathy Cavender
Creative and lifestyle director: Doug Turshen
Executive editor: Jane Farrell; Health editor: Ann Hettinger
Entertainment editor: Lisa Arcella; Features editor: Kristin McGinn
Senior beauty editor: Kathy Miller-Kramer; Senior fashion editor: Mali
Senior editor: Barbara Chernerz; Home editor: Kieran Juska
Test-kitchen director: Frank Melodia; Senior lifestyle editor: Elizabeth
Address: Rosie, 375 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10017
Tel: (212) 499-2000; Fax: (212) 499-1778