The long-time editor and founder of the Oxford American magazine and its managing editor are no longer employed at the prestigious magazine, Publisher Warwick Sabin said Monday.
"We will be moving forward," Sabin said.
Editor Marc Smirnoff, who founded the magazine around 1992, is no longer working at the magazine. Managing editor and art editor Carol Ann Fitzgerald, who was with the magazine nine years, is also "no longer employed," both effective Sunday, Sabin said.
The move comes after Sabin locked out employees of the office located at the University of Central Arkansas on Wednesday night. An investigation is ongoing, but Sabin did not say Monday what is being investigated.
The Oxford American has never had turnover in the editor position, Sabin said.
Smirnoff did not answer the door when a reporter went to his house at Simms Street in Conway on Monday afternoon. A blue Honda sat in the driveway. The home is listed on Smirnoff’s voter’s registration card as his last known address.
Contact information for Fitzgerald could not be found.
Sabin said he did not believe it would be appropriate to give out email addresses or phone numbers for Smirnoff or Fitzgerald or to pass along a message to either one.
The UCA office will hopefully open by Tuesday, Sabin said. Its closing had affected three full-time employees — including Smirnoff and Fitzgerald — and five interns. Everyone will resume using the office except Fitzgerald and Smirnoff, Sabin said.
"The staff is very positive and motivated and confident about the future," Sabin said. Morale among remaining staff is high, he said.
Sabin cited personnel matters and refused to clarify whether Fitzgerald and Smirnoff had been fired, laid off or had resigned.
Police are not involved in the investigation, which is being done by the magazine’s attorneys, Sabin said previously. The magazine recently finished a financial audit showing the magazine is in good standing, but the audit is not related to the investigation, Sabin said earlier.
"The overall message that I want to convey is that the organization in question is very healthy," Sabin said Monday.
Sabin will be interim editor, taking control of the magazine’s content, and will review whether to rehire or restructure positions. Before this weekend, Sabin had given editorial staff complete autonomy over the website and magazine, he said. Sabin said changing the direction of the content of The Oxford American is not under discussion.
Sabin will remain publisher, he said.
The Oxford American is a national magazine dedicated to Southern writing that documents "the complexity and vitality of the American South," according to its website. It began publication in Oxford, Miss., in 1992, moved to Arkansas around 2001 and then moved to UCA and became a nonprofit in 2004. Its circulation is currently about 55,000, Sabin said.