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 AJR  The Beat

From AJR,   May 1999  issue

Hear Ms. Roar   

Once again women-owned and proud of it, Ms. magazine relaunches with its April/May issue.


By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (robertson.lori@gmail.com), a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.      

Once again women-owned and proud of it, Ms. magazine relaunches with its April/May issue. The 27-year-old Ms. took a three-issue hiatus during completion of its sale by former owner Jay MacDonald to Liberty Media for Women, LLC, a group which includes, among others, the magazine's co-founder, Gloria Steinem; Abigail Disney, Walt Disney's grand-niece; and Ms. Editor in Chief Marcia Ann Gillespie. The feisty, feminist bimonthly is trying to lighten up a little, adding new items, such as Ms.-cellaneous, a front-of-the-book section of short pieces and quick facts. Ms. is also planning to include columns (currently there are none) starting in August, Gillespie says. One critic Gillespie consulted said, "We weren't eye candy, but definitely a vitamin pill." The idea of the new Ms., she says, is "not to become eye candy, but a better hors d'oeuvre...more little bites, more open space, more tongue in cheek." Currently ad-free, the 150,000-circulation magazine may accept classified advertising, and talk of merchandise is swirling. But while a Salon article quoted a Ms. spokeswoman as saying Ms. makeup and bikinis are possibilities, Gillespie says makeup is definitely not happening. "When you're marketing, anything is possible," she adds. "We may be looking at items of clothing," but along the lines of "great T-shirts," not skimpy swimsuits.