‘A blessing'

Why some former xoJane employees are celebrating its demise

xoJane founding editor Jane Pratt (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

January 1 brought the beginning of a new year for the world, but for the women-centric online magazine xoJane, it represents the end of its editorial operations. Just a little more than a year after being acquired by Time Inc., xoJane, though still accessible online, appears to be all but over. And some former staff writers, including editor-at-large Mandy Stadtmiller, while acknowledging mixed feelings about its demise, say that they aren’t sorry to see the site go.

In an essay for The Daily Beast, Stadtmiller wrote that the site had “[collapsed] inward upon itself,” referencing former xoJane writer Amanda Lauren’s “horrific” essay, “My Former Friend’s Death Was A Blessing,” as both an example of the site’s decline in journalistic standard and as a summary of her feelings toward the demise of xoJane’s current iteration. And as Stadtmiller reached out to other former xoJane employees, she found she wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

“The way the site went downhill made me somewhat embarrassed to have ever written for them,” admitted writer Melissa Petro. “I don’t regret anything I published, but I recognize now there was some element of exploitation happening there. For example, I’m pretty sure xoJane contacted The New York Post in advance of their publishing my essay about working with Penthouse, so that the Post could write their own sleazy ‘take’ on the situation, and xoJane would get more clicks. I wasn’t mad at the time, because I didn’t know better, but like, who does that?”

According to former editor Laura Barcella, a lack of “editorial structure” at the site led to “grammatical errors” and “poor editorial judgment calls.” The lack of oversight of the site’s comments section, added writer Ali Barthwell, “allowed for hate and vitriol to spread and left writers vulnerable.”

Time has announced that xoJane will be incorporated into monthly women’s magazine, InStyle. Jane Pratt, xoJane’s founding editor, is reportedly still seeking possible investors to keep the site running.

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.


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