Not so much, it turns out. RDA executive Eva Dillon just sent out the following memo denying the thrust of the Times story, and implying that the paper's reporter, Stephanie Clifford, "misinterpreted" what's going on. The company also says it's asking the Times for a correction; Clifford tells me she hasn't heard from anyone at RDA yet and thus can't comment.
June 19,2009TO: RDA EMPLOYEESFrom: Eva Dillon,President, Reader's Digest Community
In today's New York Times there is an article about Reader's Digest. The article in part suggests that the brand has decided to shift direction editorially. I want to assure you that that is not what is or has been planned, and that the strategy to embrace our core values can be misinterpreted.
To clarify, neither the magazine nor the company is going in any direction other than what we are doing now. Reader's Digest has always been about the values of home, family, community, optimism and country, and certainly our values today are more than ever in step with America, especially during these recessionary times as people focus on the "back to basics" of family and home. What we did with the relaunch and redesign of the magazine and websites was to go back to the roots that made this company great by embracing and catering to our specific and unique audience -- and do that very well, which resulted in an ASME Award for General Excellence, the first ASME in 20 years.
In a challenging time for our industry, we are excited about the plan we've developed (outlined in my earlier memo yesterday afternoon) to take a leadership role and transform our business model to respond to changed consumer media habits by leveraging our unique global assets and addressing this new generation of media.
Please let me, or any other Executive Committee member, know if you have any questions.