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Cosmopolitan Magazine Has a New Editor: Joanna Coles

The longtime editor of Hearst's Marie Claire is named the successor to Kate White, who is stepping down after 14 years.

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Cosmopolitan is one of the great American publishing success stories: It has a much bigger circulation (3 million subscribers and God knows how many newsstand sales) than most women's fashion magazines -- that must mean that "What Your Man Wants" is more popular than high fashion -- but then, what's high fashion really about in the long run anyway? On Tuesday, it was announced that Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles is taking over the reins of Cosmo from Kate White, who manned, so to speak, the ship for 14 years. Of course, both of these are Hearst magazines.

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Cosmo's only had a few editors in its time: the much-lauded Helen Gurley Brown, who was there for so many years (and who recently died), Bonnie Fuller and then White, who moonlights as a pretty successful novelist. Coles, who is British, definitely upped the profile of Marie Claire over her six-year tenure, and it didn't hurt that she was a mentor on Project Runway All-Stars.

Coles was a reporter in Britain for The Guardian and The Times of London before she moved to the U.S. and became an editor at New York Magazine, after which she rose to executive editor of More, the magazine for women over 40. Funny -- Cosmo's circulation is probably more for women under 30.

In a timely fashion, Coles is this week headed for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., for a panel with Ashley Judd, which will no doubt explode onto social media, as Coles is well known for using social media for publishing's advantage. She says she's going to inject Cosmo's pages with a sense of humour, without losing any of the sexy edge for which it's famous. Making sex more modern? That will be interesting.

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Ann Fulenwider, Coles' second-in-command at Marie Claire, will step up to EIC at that mag. This has been a big day in the world of magazines -- right on the eve of New York fashion week. Somebody, quick, come fix the seating chart!

What do you think?

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