American Pie 13.06.02

When The Washington Post was launched in 1877 there were no such things as bylines. Ironically, for its 125th anniversary issue there were no bylines either, because the paper’s editorial staff called a byline strike in protest at the management’s tardiness negotiating a new pay contract. Virtually all the stories and features were credited simply to A Washington Post Staff Writer. Originally scheduled for two days, the off-beat strike is now expected to go into a second week – unless an agreement is reached. Did the paper’s readers notice or care about the absence of bylines? The paper claimed it received only a handful of calls. The strike was, however, noted by the White House. At the daily press briefing, spokesman Ari Fleischer, instead of calling on the Post’s representative by name, as is normal, referred to the paper’s representative as "a staff writer from The Washington Post". That did elicit chuckles from the rest of the press corps – even those who supported the strike.

 

Hearst Magazines has bought Veranda, a home-style magazine published six times a year in Atlanta, regarded as a smaller, but high-end, rival to CondŽ Nast’s Architectural Digest. It’s the first time Hearst has purchased a magazine since it acquired Esquire 16 years ago. Although the company is estimated to have lost at least $25m (£17m) in its ill-fated partnership in Tina Brown’s Talk, it still divvied up an estimated $50m (£34m) to purchase Veranda. It’s expected Hearst will turn it into a monthly.

 

In Style is the latest magazine to be blighted with a "cover curse", whereby newly married couples featured on its cover have ended up in the divorce court – before the title has even hit the news-stands. The first casualty involved Melrose Place actress Kelly Rutherford, who married a wealthy Venezuelan banker. In Style featured their Beverly Hills wedding in its February issue. But by the time it was printed, Rutherford had filed for divorce. The same month sister publication In Style Weddings featured the nuptials of actress Drew Barrymore and comedian Tom Green. Again, before the magazine went on sale the couple had called it quits. The same magazine, in its spring issue last year, covered the wedding of Ally McBeal star Courtney Thorne-Smith and scientist Andrew Conrad. There again the bride filed for divorce before the magazine could halt its print run. In Style managing editor Charla Lawborn confesses the whole staff felt bad. "But we were helpless," she added. However, so far no would-be bride has turned down the opportunity of having their wedding covered by In Style.

 

Former Details editor Mark Grolin is returning to the magazine field, but not as the next editor of Rolling Stone as had been predicted. Instead he is joining Time Inc to help develop new titles. He has no title himself yet but is expected to be involved in any future magazine launches, the acquisition of titles and developing the magazines that Time Inc recently bought from IPC – among them lads’ mag Loaded. There is talk that Time might launch a US edition of Loaded.

 

Beset like many other publishers by declining ad income, Bertelsmann, the US arm of German publishing house G + J, is doing some house-cleaning. First target: the business magazine Inc which it bought two years ago. Editor George Gendron will be leaving the magazine in September. He has held the post for 21 years.

 

Jeffrey Blyth

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