Nora McAniff: Inside People
By Katie Hirce, Contributor
April / May 2002
As President of the People Magazine Group, Nora McAniff oversees the business side of some of the world’s most popular magazines. It’s a journey that began in 1982, when she joined People magazine’s marketing team. After stints as Publisher of Life and People, she became President of People. Last year she assumed her role as group president, putting her in charge of People, Teen People and People En Español.
On September 11, People’s editorial staff turned around an entire issue of coverage on the attacks in 24 hours. A second issue, entitled “America Unites,” was devoted to the tragedy a week later, and was prefaced with a letter from McAniff. “Writing that letter was so important because I wanted readers to know what was going on here in our offices and our lives that day,” McAniff says. “Like the magazine, I wanted to humanize the People staff to our readers. I got lots of wonderful and thoughtful letters from readers in return.”
McAniff has used “President’s Letters” to reach readers in the past as well, keeping them informed about the magazine’s good works. “We’ve literally contributed millions of dollars to chad-ties over the years, many times with contributions from our readers,” she says. Letter topics have included updates on the magazine’s work with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, of which McAniff also serves on the board, and with the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. McAniff has also written about the Digital Heroes Campaign, an online mentoring program she founded which pairs under-served children around the country with some of the high profile people regularly gracing the pages of the magazines, including Colin Powell, Glenn Close, Ann Curry and Matt Damon among others.
McAniff’s grandparents hailed from Ireland, and she has kept her Irish background close, even bringing its influence to her work. Some four years ago she took her marketing and sales staff to Drumoland Castle in County Clare for a meeting. It was an experience which made for, she says, “the best sales meeting we’ve had in the 20 years I’ve been here.” McAniff is planning a trip back to Ireland for herself this year and says,
“What puts an Irish vacation over the top is the people — warm, kind, generous.” In fact, she says, “I truly feel that my Irish heritage makes me a people person, so what better career path could I have chosen?” ♦