EXCLUSIVE: Cooking Light’s editor steps down

Mary Kay Culpepper leaves; Scott Mowbray appointed as replacement

Mary Kay CulpepperScott MowbrayMedia of Birmingham has learned that editor Mary Kay Culpepper is leaving Cooking Light magazine on Oct. 1. Time Inc. executive vice president Sylvia Auton has named Health.com editor Scott Mowbray to replace her at the Southern Progress title.

Cooking Light, started in 1987, debuted a redesign this month created by Mowbray’s design team. The title is ranked No. 51 among U.S. magazines, and No. 7 among Time Inc. mags. Its ad revenue dropped 16 percent from the first half of 2008 to the first half of this year.

Culpepper has led the magazine since 2001 and has been at Southern Progress since 1986. Mowbray has previously served as editor of Popular Science magazine and managing editor of Time Inc. Custom Publishing.

Update: Culpepper says she will pursue a graduate degree in creativity studies at SUNY Buffalo starting in the spring.

Among editors at Birmingham-based Southern Progress, Southern Living’s Eleanor Griffin and Coastal Living’s Lindsay Bierman have been in place less than a year, and Health’s Ellen Kunes has been in place less than 3 years.

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24 responses to “EXCLUSIVE: Cooking Light’s editor steps down

  1. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for EXCLUSIVE: Cooking Light’s editor steps down « Media of Birmingham [mediaofbirmingham.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com

  2. Regarding the new design of Cooking Light… Have any of you checked the Cooking Light Bulletin Board? Feelings there are running high against the redesign, calling out the frenetic fonts and dumbed-down recipes. Please give us our magazine back!

  3. Long time subscriber here and I have to agree the new design is awful. I don’t want to have to try and figure out if I am reading the reciepe or an ad. I hope the new team will take the time to check the feedback on the boards.

  4. If Cooking Light has decided to be a magazine of ads, than I will cancel. The new version is horrible.

  5. Thanks all for visiting and for leaving your comments.

  6. I am another long-time subscriber who is not happy with the re-design. It is hard to see where an article ends and an advertisement begins. It also seems as though CL agreed on the advertisements first and then put recipes in to match them.

  7. Hate, hate, hate the re-design. Give me my old CL back.

  8. What good does it do to revamp a magazine to please the advertisers when it turns readers away?

    I have a feeling that Ms. Culpepper knew this and tried to stop what happened and lost her job because of it. If that is the case, Thank you Ms. Culpepper and I am very sorry about your job.

  9. I am a ten-year subscriber and I dislike the redesign. It is dumbed down and too busy and I no longer feel the magazine is looking for readers like me: serious home cooks who are knowledgeable about healthy eating and nutrition and want to learn more about these topics, while cooking fabulous food.

  10. Cooking Light had really hit its stride recently. It had the clean and contemporary feel of Real Simple. Now, the magazine looks like Better Homes and Gardens—cluttered with awful fonts, dated clip art, stupid headings at the top. If I wanted Better Homes, I’d get Better Homes. I’m glad others agree.

  11. Pingback: The new look of Cooking Light and Southern Living « Media of Birmingham

  12. The “new” Cooking Light is an abomination! It looks like a cross between a church newsletter laid out in Publisher, and a cheap womens’ magazine. Too many italics, too much red font, and the cheap looking “notebook” picture that they stole from Rachael Ray’s magazine (which doesn’t have any decent recipes in it anymore, either). My thought was, if I wanted to read Taste of Home, I’d subscribe to THAT! If they ruin the Christmas issue, I’m telling them to cancel my subscription!

  13. I agree with all these comments! I am a very long-time subscriber and I despise the “new”, “clean” look! Rather than being an educational healthy magazine for serious cooks, it’s now an upscale version of the cooking section in Family Circle! Since when does cooking light use ingredients such as “vegetable shortening”?????? and “store bought pasta sauce”?? If this doesn’t change back to the original Cooking Light soon, I will cancel my subscription.

  14. Pingback: EXCLUSIVE: Cooking Light adds to Southern Progress layoffs « Media of Birmingham

  15. I totally dislike the new design of the magazine. I never received a notice when my subscription expired in August. I have recently renewed without knowing about the redesign changes and had I known, I would not have renewed. Why change something that was so good? I’ve read all the recently posted blogs and no one seems to like the new look. Very disappointing!


  17. Pingback: EXCLUSIVE: Coastal Living swaps editors « Media of Birmingham

  18. Pingback: EXCLUSIVE: Coastal Living editor departs after less than 6 months | Media of Birmingham

  19. Mary Kay Culpepper is a great person. I wish her all the best of success in all her endeavors!

    Maybe she’s out there reading this…

    We miss you, Mary Kay!

    ~ Z ~

  20. I was such a fan of Cooking Light under Mary Kay! What a disastrous change! There is now no resemblance to the former quality of this magazine! Someone should have checked with the subscribers!

  21. If you like ads then this magazine is for you and if not try Allrecipes.com. I was a loyal subscriber to CL for many years and after Mary Kay left I did too.

  22. Sad, but true, the newer version did not appeal to many & I was shocked to see when it changed. One can always look for the old issues. It was not just a cooking magazine, but a life style magazine that entertained many options for healthy nutrition and living. The articles appealed to a great audience and it was thoughtful and meaningful on many levels. RIP pre-2009 Cooking Light

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