Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Sassy Takes on the Moral Majority; Protests Lead to Ad Pullouts, but Sassy Doesn't Flinch

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Sassy Takes on the Moral Majority; Protests Lead to Ad Pullouts, but Sassy Doesn't Flinch

Article excerpt

Sassy takes on the Moral Majority

New York City--The Reverend Jerry Falwell can take credit for at least one editorial change at controversial teen magazine Sassy. In response to critical letters written by Falwell's followers to Sassy advertisers--which led at least four advertisers to suspend advertising--Sassy will move up publication of its sex education piece, "Why virgins are cool," from the December issue to the November issue.

"We had that feature already scheduled, written and ready to go, so we figured we might as well drop it in early," says Sandra Yates, president of Matilda Publications, which publishes Sassy. Although the magazine runs only four sex education pieces per year, she adds, the change was needed to show advertisers and critics immediately that Sassy provides sex education information from a number of perspectives.

"It's not as though we're slathering sex," Yates contends.

Critics disagree. Unfavorable letters sent to Sassy Were published in its October issue, with the explanation that "a bunch of people who aren't thrilled with some of the articles" have written to advertisers, threatening boycotts. Sassy asked readers for their response, but did not ask readers to contact advertisers directly. "Our readers are kids and we have got to be sensitive to manipulating them," says Yates.

On the other side, "We've been getting heart-warmingly positive response from readers and their parents," Yates claims. Subsequent issues will carry letters from readers supporting the magazine's frank treatment of sex education and other teen issues. The letters, Yates hopes, will demonstrate to advertisers the support of its readers.

The young magazine already has powerful support from its circulation figures: Sassy raised its circulation guarantee to 400,000 with the September issue, its eighth issue. …

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