Kim Weiss Publishing Services

This whole economy thing is starting to scare me

January 28, 2009 at 9:38 am

Whenever I hear about someone losing their job or losing their home or losing something else that’s precious because of this bloody state of the economy, I experience my moment of empathy, compassion and then it passes. That may sound cold but I think I’m not unlike most people who have become more and more desensitized by the media and life in general.

Yesterday, I got some news that went straight to my stomach. Two women who are icons to me in the publishing world were laid off. Two women who, because of their talent and expertise, I thought were bulletproof. No way could they be let go from jobs that they did so well. Excuse me professions that are/were admired and appreciated by a very large circle of people.

Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly magazine, and Daisy Maryles, executive editor have lost their jobs.

Sara, to me, a rock star editor who brought new vigor to a tired trade magazine and Daisy, who gave 43 years of her life to PW are serious casualties in this downsizing of American business game. Perhaps they made more money than their colleagues. Perhaps that upset the monetary equanimity and they morphed from valuable contributors to dispensable numbers. I’m sure they’re worth every penny they made and more and will leave behind a noticeable void. (Dare I say, it? Neither were spring chickens, not that was a factor in any decision making)

I always looked forward to Sara’s weekly column. Her engaging writing style and good choice of subject matter were a pleasure. Something hip and contemporary was infused into PW when she arrived there and as far as I am concerned, was a real upgrade.

Now, Daisy. She’s another story. I’ve had the good fortune of cultivating a friendship with Ms. Maryles over the years and count on her invitation to her family’s Passover seders. Mikey’s fennel salad has become a staple in my diet. But, the warmth that I feel around Daisy is not unique.  Anyone who’s done business with her knows how instantly comfortable she can make you feel. In fact, when I first came to HCI, Peter (my boss), told me of his special association with PW via Daisy Maryles. It wasn’t long before I found out what “special” meant.

In a word, she’s a gem.

Visiting NY for my book pitching won’t be the same. Sure, I’ll still take in a Broadway show with Daisy (which I do EVERY time), but visiting the offices of PW just won’t feel the same. It’ll just be weird. Daisy to me is synonymous with PW.   I’m sure I’m not alone in my sentiment.

What I do know, and everyone else who knows Sara and Daisy knows, too, is that the next business or organization to get either of these publishing divas will be the lucky ones.

I’ll miss them at PW but will be delighted to watch them in their next professional incarnations.

I wish you both the best, Daisy and Sara.

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