American Pie 07.02.02

Staff at the National Enquirer are upset – and impatient. It’s more than four months since its offices in Florida were the target of an anthrax attack which caused the death of British photo editor Bob Stevens. Staff at the Enquirer and its sister tabloids are still working from makeshift offices around Boca Raton. Meanwhile, their old offices are still quarantined. What particularly upsets them is that the State of Florida seems to be ignoring their plight. There is no indication when the offices will be declared safe and reopened. Governor Jeb Bush, brother of the President, has never visited them, although he did visit a similarly contaminated postal facility just four miles away and promised the workers there his support.  Is it, some ask, because they are tabloid reporters?  Lately, David Pecker, head of American Media, publisher of the Enquirer, the Star and four other US tabloids, has been approached by other cities offering space and tax benefits to move out of Florida. "Nobody really wants to leave Florida," he says, "but we are seriously considering some of the offers." The most likely move would be to New York.  

News magazines, after enjoying a brief jump in sales following the 11 September attacks, are now suffering like everyone else from the downturn. Newsweek, for example, rather than firing staff, is offering payoffs to 12 per cent of its staff – that’s anyone 55 and over with 10 years’ service. At the same time, US News and World Report is joining the growing list of magazines cutting back on issues.


Bust is coming back. The magazine with the slogan "For women who have something to get off their chest" ceased publication in November because of a lack of funds. Now its founders have put together a new staff willing to work, for the moment, without pay. They are working at plywood and soapbox desks on a new issue to come out in April. Its theme: ‘Women Who Fight.’


Although Rupert Murdoch failed in his bid to corner the direct satellite TV business in the US, his Fox News Channel, launched just five years ago, has overtaken CNN as the most-watched cable news network in the country. In January, it had more round-the-clock viewers (an average of 656,000) and more primetime viewers (over 1million) than its main rival. It was the first time in 20 years that CNN had been ousted from its top position.


Why does everyone pick on Cosmopolitan? That was the question posed by a Washington Post writer Bob Levey reporting on the growing trend in supermarkets to hide magazines with sexy coverlines by wrapping them in plastic sheets. Levey says  other magazines are just as naughty. For example, Redbook ("Five Sex Tricks He’ll Never Forget"), Glamour ("Guys Tell What’s Sexy in Bed") and even Ladies’ Home Journal ("Bedtime Mystery – Why Did He Like That?").


More kudos for the US version of The Week. It has been named the most notable launch of 2001 by Samir Husni, professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi, who is known here as "Mr Magazine". It is the most innovative magazine he has come across in decades, he says in his annual report. "It is concise, to the point and easy to read." Other notable launches last year, he said, were Rosie, Elle Girl, My Generation and Blender.


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