Can Ken Whyte save Chatelaine?

Ken Whyte became publisher of Chatelaine last October, and has since
shaken up the editorial board and fostered a drastic redesign of the
82-year-old title, out this week. But will it save the magazine? A Globe and Mail article explores the issue.

Whyte has a reputation for embracing tabloid tactics, as seen in his redesign of Maclean’s. Globe reporter James Adams writes:

“When Kenneth Whyte was named publisher of Chatelaine last October, a shiver of unease, bewilderment and anticipation went through its castle-like headquarters in downtown Toronto – and the Canadian magazine industry in general.

“Wherever there’s Whyte, a change is gonna come.”

Ken Whyte told Adams in an interview: “ Part of me has always wanted to play in the women’s magazine field because I don’t know much about it! ”

Adams points out that, after five years and four editors-in-chief, a revolving-door editorial staff and numerous layoffs, is more change really what the magazine needs?

He writes:

“With Whyte’s ascension last fall, what one ex-Rogers employee calls the “paranoia and climate of fear” among Chatelaine staff only worsened, even as the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Maryam Sanati, who’d only returned from maternity leave four months earlier, tried to reassure employees that things were going to be okay, okay?

“This was not to be. Earlier this week, Chatelaine unveiled its second redesign in just over two years, overseen not by Sanati but by a new editor-in-chief, its fifth since 2004, 43-year-old Jane Francisco.”