Oprah Winfrey recently announced at the annual conference of O magazine that she had experienced a breast cancer scare, shocking audience members including her best friend Gayle King. When Winfrey related this fact to the crowd, King became perturbed, because she had not been previously informed by her closest pal of this troubling milestone.
In a dramatic scene that took place in front of thousands in a packed auditorium, The New York Times reports that:
When Ms. King grew visibly upset, one woman chided Ms. Winfrey for not telling her friend ahead of time and ordered her to apologize to Ms. King — all before an audience. Ms. Winfrey also did not hide her dissatisfaction with the criticism she had faced. She told the audience, “the press tried to cut me off at the knees” in its coverage of OWN, and bristled at questions about the challenges her magazine confronted.
Winfrey’s scare was a false alarm in the end, yet made an interesting launching point for discussing what the future holds for the 58-year-old mogul. According to New York Times writer Christine Haughney, the stakes are high for the billionaire, who seeks to maintain her level of media power while appealing to younger women.
Additionally, as she works to build her OWN network, the future of Winfrey’s magazine remains uncertain without the power of her now-defunct eponymous show buoying it.
The print publication has experienced a roughly 22 percent decline in newsstand sales since the end of Winfrey’s broadcast television program, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which ran for 25 years. If business constraints demand it, Winfrey might shutter the glossy that bears her image on the cover every month. “Obviously, the show was helping in ways that you know I hadn’t accounted for,” Winfrey told the Times. “I’m not interested, you know, in bleeding money.”
Despite these challenges, the luminary is confident that she can make the transition to promoting positive messages in her remaining platforms. Oprah currently attracts a middle-aged crowd, which is not good for expanding her business. Yet, younger fans will come, Winfrey believes, because she is totally focused on the sincerity of her uplifting content.
“You’re never going to run out of people who are looking for a more joyful life,” she concluded.
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.