It’s one of Australian publishing’s long-held and simmering rivalries and the spat between Harper’s Bazaar editor Kellie Hush and Mamamia’s Mia Freedman has its shellaced claws out again.
The two have publicly sparred previously over skinny models, Photoshopping, even staff interns.
Now, in an interview with B&T, Hush said she’s sick of media commentators berating the performance of print magazines and singled-out Freedman – a former print editor of Cosmo magazine – for giving her opinion on declining circulations.
Hush said: “People like Mia Freedman drive me nuts when she says print needs to think about digital business – er, derr, we’ve been in digital businesses for a long time!
“My brand is a 360 brand. Of course we’ve got the print edition – which actually still makes most of the money; far more than digital at this point in our business; and we also have a website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
“We’re everywhere so to say that the print business is ‘dying…’ we’re not just a print business anymore.”
Harper’s Bazaar is Australia’s top-selling luxury fashion title with a circulation of 52,910. In 2012, Hush – a former editor of defunct weekly Grazia – took the reins of the monthly magazine after incumbent editor Edwina McCann was poached by rival Vogue.
December’s ABC figures showed Harper’s had grown its circulation by 0.1 per cent and Hush said there are lots of exciting plans on the horizon, and as a result they’re expanding the team.
“Print is still really strong,” she added. “Harper’s has had growth audit upon audit – or stability – which is incredible in this market. We redesigned our website two years ago and we’re expanding our team because we want to make it faster and more information accessible.
“The great position that I have is that I can still be involved in print which I love, but still have my foot in the digital world too, which is important.”
Freedman had worked in magazines for 15 years before launching mum’s lifestyle blog Mamamia in 2007. It set a readership record in September last year, when more than 1.5million unique browsers logged on to the site – an average of just over 300,000 people a day.
Freedman claims she left magazines and re-focused her passion and energy into online because she became disillusioned with the women’s glossies and admitted on her blog “they felt increasingly disconnected from my life. And as a reader they made me feel like shit”.
In March 2012, Freedman took a swipe at Grazia – of which Hush was editor at the time – for its cover of British media darling Alexa Chung, saying her scarily thin image had been Photoshopped.
Hush hit back, denying the magazine had altered the picture, and just months later they were squabbling over anorexic-looking models at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia.
Hush’s Bauer boss, Marina Go, will be speaking at Daze of Disruption about where women’s digital media is heading, but also about the heady world of the bankers, boards, chairmans and alpha males who jostle to control the National Rugby League – Go is also Chairperson of the WestTigers league franchise. Click here for tickets and more information