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Primedia has once again shown the same level of class it demonstrated when it laid off former Canoe & Kayak publisher Glen Bernard in May 2005. On Nov. 2, executives from Primedia arrived without warning and told the magazine staff that the Canoe & Kayak offices would be moving from Kirkland, Wash., to California to join the Action Sports group, which includes Bike, Powder, Skateboarder, Slam, Snowboarder, Surfer and Surfing. Climbing magazine now remains as the lone publication in the Action Sports group that is headquartered outside of California. At the same time, editor Ross Prather, managing editor Robin Stanton and art director Jason Mohr were told they would not be offered continued employment. Mike Kord, senior editor, has been offered a position if he chooses to move.
SNEWS® has learned that the staff suspected something might be going on since Primedia executives had yet to sign off on a five-year lease agreement for new offices that it had previously asked the Canoe & Kayak staff to begin looking for. The current office lease expires this December. We’ve been told the sales staff, a team of two, will remain in Seattle in a small office space.
SNEWS® View: Timing, as they say, is everything. You have one publishing company, Primedia, canning the leadership and heart of Canoe & Kayak magazine without notice at the same time another, Paddlesport Publishing, announces it has hired Glen Bernard (canned by Primedia in 2005) to serve as its new publisher of Paddler and Paddle Dealer.
Primedia continues to boast on its corporate website that with “the most experienced editors and writers in the paddlesports market, Canoe & Kayak is considered the leading authority on all aspects of paddling. It is this superior editorial environment that provides advertisers with a unique and effective way to communicate advertising messages and promote their brands to North America’s most active paddlesports outdoor enthusiasts.”
Superior editorial environment? If this is Primedia’s definition of a superior editorial environment, we’d like to see what a challenged environment looks like. While moving the offices to California to join the other magazines in the Action Sports group certainly makes good business sense, the way Primedia continues to treat its employees as pawns it can move around or flick off the playing board at will is, well, frankly disturbing. Ross, Robin and Jason deserved much better than they got.