Saturday Evening Post moving news operations to Philly

Based in Indianapolis since 1970, The Saturday Evening Post is searching for office space in Philadelphia to return news operations back to the historic publication’s roots.

Publisher Joan SerVaas said the small office will serve as the base for up to six employees, including Editorial Director and Associate Publisher Steve Slon, a managing editor, a reporter and Web editors. The move will benefit Slon, who resides in Washington, D.C., and who currently travels to Indianapolis on a monthly basis, SerVaas said.

The Saturday Evening Post, published six times a year, also will be produced in Philadelphia. The magazine will continue to be printed by Fry Communications Inc. in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Business operations will remain in Indianapolis, SerVaas said. The company has 50 employees at its office near the IUPUI campus.

The move to Philadelphia, expected to be completed in June, returns the iconic publication to its origins. The Post launched in 1728 as the Pennsylvania Gazette, which, under the leadership of Benjamin Franklin, became the most successful newspaper in the colonies.

The name changed to The Saturday Evening Post in 1821.

“We have a lot of archival material that was moved here in 1970 that goes back to 1821,” SerVaas said. “It needs to go back where it came from. There’s a lot of meaningful material there.”

In its heyday, the publication boasted 6 million subscribers and propelled Norman Rockwell to international fame. But circulation since has fallen to a more modest 360,000 as the magazine continues to struggle to find a wider audience.

The first signs of trouble emerged back in 1969, when magazine owner Curtis Publishing—and in turn the Post—filed for bankruptcy. The SerVaas family bought the company and moved it from Philadelphia to Indianapolis the following year.

By 1982, Curtis was $2.5 million in debt, so Publisher Joan SerVaas’ father, Beurt, sold the magazine to the not-for-profit Saturday Evening Post Society, which at the time was headed by his wife and former Post Publisher Cory SerVaas.

Joan SerVaas said she has yet to sign a lease in Philadelphia but is eyeing space next to the building where the Post operated when it was last based in the city.

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