American Pie 06.12.01

Joining the list of magazines killed by the recession are three Time Inc titles: Family Life, Asia Week and On (until recently known as Time Digital). Best known was Family Life, a magazine aimed at parents of school-age kids. Started by Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, it was acquired by Time in 1999 but was never able to catch up with Disney’s Family Fun. The big surprise though is the closure of Asia Week, based in Hong Kong, as it had been widely predicted that the magazine would benefit from the growing trade with China. Cumulatively the three titles were were expected to lose as much as $15m (£10.5m) this year.

     

Is Marie Claire thinking of changing partners? There are reports that the French-owned title is considering terminating its contract with Hearst Magazines, which publishes the US version. The seven-year-old contract is up for renewal soon. Possible beneficiary, if there is a switch, is likely to be Hachette Filipacchi, which publishes Elle, Car & Driver, Road & Track and Women’s Day. Also under consideration, it is reported, is Hearst’s 50-50 deal with Tina Brown’s Talk magazine which, although it has had a small 6 per cent jump in ads lately, is still losing a ton of money. It’s estimated it has lost $40m (£28m) since it was launched. Recently, there has been talk of finding new investors, but the only likely big-money investor who might be persuaded to dig deeper is Harvey Weinstein, the film producer who is already committed to paying 50 per cent of Talk’s costs.

 

Work started 74 years ago, but now the Hearst Corporation’s headquarters in New York may soon be finished. Way back in the Thirties work stopped at the building’s sixth floor. Now British architect Sir Norman Foster – who created the new the Reichstag in Berlin and the Great Court at the British Museum – has designed a new almost 600-ft high, steel and glass tower to go on top of the old building. Although somewhat theatrical, compared to the bottom six floors with their stone exterior and fluted columns, the design has been given the green light by the city’s Landmark Commission. Despite the anxiety that some people feel over skyscrapers, the New York Times is also pushing ahead with its plan for a new skyscraper HQ in mid-town Manhattan

Who will be Time magazine’s Man of the Year? With just a couple of weeks to go before it’s announced, a spokesman for Time admits that Osama bin Laden is on the "shortlist". There are at least six names on the list but Time won’t name the other contenders.

 

Some 53 per cent of Americans support the idea that the US Government is right to censor news reports regarded as a threat to national security. This confounds many in the media here who have complained that the Pentagon has been making it difficult for news organisations to cover the events in Afghanistan. Despite the peeves of many pressmen, 77 per cent of people interviewed by the Pew Research Center rate the media’s coverage of the war as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, which is stratospheric compared with the criticism heaped on journalists during the OJ Simpson/Monica Lewinsky/Elian Gonzales years. Nevertheless, nearly three quarters of those polled said they wanted to read or hear the views of the US’s enemies, although 43 per cent felt Osama bin Laden had been given too much exposure.

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