Monday, November 12, 2012

HEARST CORPORATION PURCHASES STRUGGLING BYU STUDIES

Hearst Corporation's BYU Studies Makeover
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK—Bernie Sokoloff, spokesperson for the Hearst Corporation, announced Friday the purchase of the financially troubled BYU Studies scholarly journal.  “Here at Hearst, we see great potential in BYU Studies,” said Sokoloff, “and with resources from our other holdings, we can make BYU Studies the Mormon moment equivalent of our fabulous O, The Oprah Magazine.” 

When asked to elaborate on how Hearst might use its publications to improve BYU Studies, Sokoloff explained that “we are already working with Mormon historians on a Cosmo-inspired article with 30 sex tips from Brigham Young’s wives, with the initial title, ‘How to Drive your Man Wild as if you were Competing with 12 Other Women!’” 

Sokoloff further elaborated that the LDS emphasis on the materiality of resurrected bodies “overlaps nicely with key magazine themes.”  To illustrate this point, Sokoloff cited the forthcoming BYU Studies article “Why Wait for the Resurrection to have the Thighs You Deserve.”  Additional history, health, and beauty articles will explore Mary Fielding Smith’s advice on how to get “sexy, rock-hard abs” (push a handcart for 1,300 miles).  Editors from Seventeen will also be brought in to offer “Tips on Keeping Your Hair Cute while doing Baptisms for the Dead” and “25 Fun and Flirty Outfits for this Season’s Cache Valley Family Funerals.”

Publishing industry experts see Hearst’s move as important for its long-range plans.  According to Danielle Miller from industry consultants Magazine Vistas, “Hearst sees this as a strategic purchase that is pivotal in their attempt to gain a larger market share if in fact the Mormon moment becomes a Mormon month or even, heaven forbid, a Mormon millennium.”  Other publishing firms have made similar moves, including Condé Nast Publications recent acquisition of Dialogue – A Journal of Mormon Thought, which it plans on merging with other holdings The New Yorker, Architectural Digest, Self, and Brides, as well as emerging giant Halliburton-Rove Corporation's recent purchase of Sunstone and attempted hostile takeover of The Friend.  

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