In an attempt to firm up the financial management of deficit-ridden Harvard Magazine, the magazine's board of directors has initiated a search for a full-time publisher.
The post is currently held on a part-time volunteer basis by the president of the magazine, board member Phillip Cronin '53.
"Harvard Magazine is too big and too commercial for a volunteer publisher. Now we would like a person with professional skills," John T. Bethell '54, editor of the magazine, said yesterday.
The magazine, which had a $264,000 deficit last year, has been forced to reevaluate its 1973 decision to adopt a national format, although both Bethell and Cronin said yesterday that the magazine still has extensive nationwide readership.
"There are all sorts of very obvious options available with relation to the magazine," Cronin said. "We need someone there to make the right decisions--investment promotion, circulation, etc."
The 1973 drive to achieve nationwide circulation forced the University to subsidize the magazine. But the operating deficit which resulted from the drive prompted Harvard to reduce the subsidy and to suggest that the magazine curtail its national promotion. Of the 40,000 current Harvard Magazine subscribers, "about 20,000 are non-Harvard affiliates, Bethell said.
Cronin said the new publisher "will need to have specific expertise and knowledge in the problems of a magazine as opposed to someone who is just a routine business manager."
He added that the resumption of a national promotion campaign "remains a possibility, although no final decision of any sort has been made."
Loss of Tax Exemptions
The magazine was also apparently threatened last year with the loss of its tax-exempt status as an "educational" publication because of its disproportionate number of non-Harvard subscribers.
The magazine currently maintains a semi-autonomous status, but has in the past depended on the University for its financial guidance.
The appointment of the new publisher is seen by both Bethell and Cronin as an attempt by the magazine to stand somewhat more independent of Harvard administration fiscal guidance.
On October 18, Bethell said, the board of directors of the magazine will propose to the Corporation the institution of expanded alumni and University coverage by the magazine.
Neither Bethell or Cronin could predict how long the search for a new publisher would take.