Stewart gives up column

Subscribers to Martha Stewart Living magazine received a personal letter from Martha with the September issue explaining why the last regular feature in the magazine that she wrote was being dropped.

Stewart, who was sentenced in July to five months in prison for obstructing a federal securities investigation but is free pending an appeal, wrote that she would no longer do "Letter from Martha," which she had penned since the magazine's inception in 1990. She said she was "taking a respite from writing at this time to attend to my personal legal matters."

The latest issue also features a redesigned cover in which the word "Living" is emphasized, rather than "Martha Stewart." Last May, Stewart wrote her last nostalgic "Remembering" column, the back-page feature where she mused on how she kept house as a young bride on a budget or reminisced about her favorite chintz pattern. And "Martha's Calendar" (with entries like "Braid and cure garlic," "Dust all taxidermy" and "15th birthday of cats Teeny and Weeny") bit the dust last year.

The latest changes come on the heels of lagging advertiser support as Stewart sorts out her legal woes. Martha Stewart Omnimedia's publishing division, which includes the flagship magazine, posted a second quarter 2004 operating loss of $5.2 million.

In her letter, Stewart thanked subscribers for their support. "Rest assured that I will be creating new and different columns for this magazine personally as soon as I am able."

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