Editor is out after less than 1 1/2 years

By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / December 7, 2010

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The editor of Boston magazine resigned yesterday after less than 18 months on the job, becoming the third editor in less than five years to leave the glossy monthly publication.

The resignation of Andrew Putz follows by just several months the departure of Larry Platt, the former editorial director at Boston magazine’s parent company, Metrocorp Inc. of Philadelphia. Platt, who left Metrocorp in June, hired Putz from another city lifestyle magazine, Minnesota Monthly, in June 2009.

Deanna Miller-Meservey, a spokeswoman for the magazine, said Putz was not forced out of the job, although he did not inform magazine executives of his professional plans. Putz could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In a statement released by Boston magazine, Putz, 37, said: “I am tremendously proud of the work my colleagues and I did during my tenure at Boston. We increased newsstand sales, updated the design, and published the sort of stories that got people talking about the magazine again. But it is time for me to move on.’’

Three senior editors, Alexandra Hall, John Wolfson, and Chin Wang, will manage the editorial side of the magazine until Putz’s replacement is named. The magazine’s chief executive, Rick Waechter, said in the statement that he will be looking to hire an editor with local ties, but did not specify a time frame.

Martin Smith, editor in chief of the monthly Orange Coast Magazine in Newport Beach, Calif., said that city magazines do best with editors who have local ties and work for several years before moving on.

“As a general overview,’’ he said, “these magazines work best when they are in the hands of somebody with a deep knowledge of the city and its culture.’’

Over the past few years, Boston magazine, like many other print publications, has experienced significant turnover as the recent recession undermined advertising revenues. In 2009, the magazine’s revenues fell 10 to 15 percent from the previous year, leading to the layoffs of six staffers, including editor James Burnett, whom Putz replaced. Burnett served as editor for three years, replacing Jon Marcus, who left in 2006.

Other recent departures include Paige Williams, the magazine’s recent executive editor. She left in August to teach writing at Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation.

Stephen Burgard, director of Northeastern University’s School of Journalism, said the short tenure of Boston magazine’s editors is becoming part of the magazine’s culture.

“Boston magazine has been a revolving door for some time,’’ Burgard said. “They’ve had some serious editors who have tried to do some serious stories. They’ve had elements in their formula that have been good, but it’s the economics of the environment and the personality of its owners.’’

The company is led by D. Herbert Lipson, chairman, and his son, David Lipson Jr., who serves as president. The younger Lipson referred questions to Waechter, who declined to be interviewed.

The magazine’s finances improved in the past year, with ad revenue rising 14 percent, according to the magazine. For the six-month period that ended in June, Boston magazine had an average monthly circulation, including subscriptions, of about 94,000, compared to 101,000 for the same period the year before, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, a Chicago organization that tracks newspapers and magazines.

“Andy came to the magazine with several objectives — to improve the editorial product, to upgrade the editorial staff, and to help improve our circulation,’’ Waechter said. “In a relatively short time frame he has done all of those things.’’

Johnny Diaz can be reached at