American Pie 04.03.05

Not
since the trial of OJ Simpson have so many journalists from all over
the world descended on California. The little town of Modesto has been
overwhelmed by journalists covering the Michael Jackson trial . And at
what cost! Because the court has said no cameras can be allowed in the
courtroom, many networks are planning nightly re-creations of what goes
on, with look-alike actors. There are only seven seats in the courtroom
reserved for journalists – the rest of the press have to watch in a
trailer outside the courtroom on a single 36-inch tv set. And its not
cheap. Most of the American press is being charged what’s being called
a ” media impact fee ” of $7,500 (almost £4,000) a day, levied by Santa
Barbara county to cover the cost of the trailer, parking and what’s
described as “additional security”. Some news organizations, including
the NY Times and Washington Post, are protesting the fees, claiming
they are excessive – and also unconstitutional . The papers claim that
part of the government’s function is to give media access to a public
trial. Officials respond that the trial – which could last six months –
is likely to cost local taxpayers millions of dollars.

Richard
Desmond and his company Northern and Shell is pushing ahead with plans
to launch a US edition of OK!, despite a court injunction preventing
Nicola McCarthy from taking over the editorship of the new magazine
(Press Gazette , February 25). In fact, a deal is in the works for a
company called Comag Marketing, a joint venture of Condé Naste and
Hearst, two of America’s biggest magazine companies, to distribute the
new US version of OK. Ironically, Comag also distributes US weekly, the
magazine that went to court to stop the former British editor from
allegedly breaching her contract which she signed when she was
appointed executive editor of Us .

Sixty
years after the event, the US press has been taking another look at
what is considered the most famous picture of World War Two, the
raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima by a group of American
marines. At the time the picture was credited to AP combat photographer
Joe Rosenthal, who won a Pulitzer Prize for the picture.There were
actually two photographers.

The flag raising was also
photographed by military photographer Sgt Bill Genaust, who captured
the scene on a cine camera. Genaust was killed in action nine days
later and never saw his film, which was subsequently shown in cinemas.
There was, however, no recognition of Genaust’s role because
regulations at the time did not give credit to military photographers.
For decades his historymaking pictures have gone unrecognized, but now
there is a plaque atop Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi acknowledging his
name.

The New York Post’s efforts to introduce its readers, Fleet
Street style, to some classic reading – by offering cut price editions
of famous classis – had some mixed results. Discounting The Adventures
of Huckleberry Finn, which was given away, the most popular book was
Robinson Crusoe, followed by Gulliver’s Travels , The Time Machine,
Moby Dick and A Christmas Carol. Books by women didn’t sell – Mary
Shelley and Jane Austin were both in the bottom five. 

Spending on magazines is plummeting. New
studies show that most Americans spend less on magazines than on
alcohol and tobacco. The average is less than $172 a year, compared to
$290 on tobacco and $391 on alcohol. But there is an exception.

For the super-wealthy, there are a lot of new magazines coming out,
and they are doing well. The success of such supersize magazines as
Gotham and The Hamptons , which are heavier than most telephone
directories , has prompted the launch of Washington DC Style, a
bi-monthly set to launch in May, and a similar magazine for Chicago.
The new magazines feature big spending. “Conspicious consumption is
back in,” says magazine consultant Martin Walker .

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