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National NOW Times >> Special Edition, 2001 >> Article

Feminist Majority Foundation, Ms. Magazine Join Forces

by Rebecca Farmer, Press Secretary

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) announced the first-ever feminist media merger in mid-November. FMF, headed by former NOW President Eleanor Smeal, will assume ownership of Liberty Media for Women, the publisher of Ms. Magazine, beginning in early 2002.

NOW Press Secretary and author of this article, Rebcca Farmer, with Feminist Majority President Ellie Smeal and Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem. Ms. Magazine has been the preeminent voice of women's rights in the publishing world since its founding in 1972. The transition in the magazine's ownership will ensure an increasingly prominent feminist presence in magazine racks nationwide.

"Ms. Magazine is a trailblazing institution that has during its 30-year history changed countless women's lives and raised multiple generations of feminists," said Smeal. "We are committed to making sure that the Ms. voice thrives as the forum for challenging conventional ideas and as a springboard for the development and spread of feminist ideas."

Ms. Magazine's editor-in-chief Marcia Gillespie, along with founding editors Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan, have expressed their enthusiasm for the publication's new ownership. Gillespie captured the essence perfectly, saying, "This is the perfect marriage of information and action." Steinem noted, "In the light of the terrorist crisis, it is even more clear that we must create a stronger future together."

NOW President Kim Gandy cheered the merger, saying, "Ellie Smeal is one of this country's most fabulous feminists and Ms. is one of the most fabulous feminist publications -- what a great combination!"

Ms. broke into the mainstream of U.S. culture in 1972 and has gained increasing visibility and recognition without losing its cutting-edge dedication to women's rights. Ms. quickly rose to become a groundbreaking forum for new ideas and issues, investigative journalism, fiction, the arts, politics, humor, women's health, international women's news and more. Over the past three decades, Ms. has complemented the hard work of NOW activists and other women's rights groups in making feminism a household word and women's rights a national priority.

Throughout its history, Ms. maintained editorial independence as ownership of the magazine changed hands multiple times. In 1990, Ms. went ad-free after years of struggling with advertisers bent on influencing editorial content. The loss of advertising revenue presented an economic challenge, but it gave the editors absolute freedom in staying true to their ideals. Ms. will remain ad-free with FMF.

As the Feminist Majority Foundation takes the reins of Ms., the magazine will become geographically bi-coastal as the main office moves from New York City to FMF's Los Angeles headquarters. Some administrative functions will be run from FMF's Arlington, Va., office. Despite the move, Ms. will maintain its impressive network of New York-based writers and contributors.

NOW activists and other Ms. readers can rest assured that this landmark feminist magazine will continue to inform diverse communities on a wide variety of women's rights issues and we look forward to continuing a fruitful collaboration.

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