American journalists who may be assigned to cover a war with Iraq are being put through crash courses in chemical warfare. Several papers have already sent reporters on courses conducted by British company Centurion Risk Assessment Services. The Boston Globe has sent four of its eight overseas reporters. The Christian Science Monitor has sent six. The Chicago Tribune is lining up a group to make the trip shortly and is also buying recommended protection gear. CBS has already started issuing special suits to protect its crews. One reason that many US papers are spending money on CW training is the suspicion that the Pentagon may make the risk of CW a reason for not letting reporters near the battlefields should fighting begin. CNN has set aside $36m (£23m) to cover a possible war – almost double what it spent on covering the 1991 Gulf War. This is because the news service has become more important and grown dramatically – it employs twice the number of news staff it did then.
A group of seven men and women’s health magazines with a total circulation of more than four million is up for sale. If the deal goes through – for the asking price of at least $350m (£224m) – it will be the biggest magazine sale here since Reader’s Digest paid $760m (£487m) earlier this year for a group of country magazines. The magazines, which include Muscle & Fitness and Flex, were started by vitamin king and bodybuilder Joe Weider. The biggest seller at the moment is women’s fitness magazine Shape, whose circulation has climbed from 950,000 in 1997 to 1.7 million today.
Rather than put up a plaque that, in its words, "would only gather dust", The Wall Street Journal commissioned a New York sculptor to design a memorial to slain reporter Daniel Pearl. The fibre-optic display, comprising three luminous wall plaques, is in the lobby of the ninth floor newsroom. One plaque is inscribed, "They may have blown out a candle, but the light is still on", the words used by Pearl’s widow, Mariane, at his memorial service. The memorial was unveiled last week on what would have been his 39th birthday.
The US arm of Dennis Publishing has done a deal with New Line Cinema, a division of AOL Time Warner, to turn material from Maxim into films. They will be produced under a "Maxim Presents" label. New Line believes it can use the Maxim name to reach a new audience.
Playboy Clubs are making a comeback, only this time bunnies will be pouring scotch. Playboy Enterprises has linked up with Dewar’s to sponsor a series of "lounge parties" in seven American cities over the next eight months. The idea is an attempt to recreate the feel of the Playboy Clubs, the last of which closed in 1991. The parties will also feature Scottish Highlanders playing bagpipes. A new slogan has even been created: "Dewar’s is like great sex."
Toby Young is back in New York. At least in print, if not in person. The author of How To Lose Friends And Alienate People will write a monthly "Letter from London" for relaunched celebrity magazine Avenue.
The New York Sun, printing a Reuters story from Ethiopia which reported: "A pride of lions, disturbed by the destruction of their forest sanctuaries, last week killed one villager and devoured 70 domestic animals," asked in passing if Reuters now employs a Dr Doolittle?