American Pie 18.02.05

The
New York Times , once one of the blue-chip publishing companies, at
least financially, has been going through hard times . Its shares,
because of a decline in ad income, higher newsprint costs, and
competition from the Internet, have slid 25 per cent over the past two
years.

But the Times has come up with a new way of making money.
It is planning to start charging for wedding reports . Not wedding
announcements, but actual reports of weddings. Ones that obviously
don’t qualify as news stories. It is even devoting a special section of
its Sunday edition to the paid-for-reports – and they don’t come cheap.
They are priced at $48 (that’s almost £26) a single-column line. As
each line – in six point type – runs to about 50 characters, that works
out at roughly a dollar a letter. For an average-length wedding report
running to 80 lines, with perhaps a couple of pictures, the cost could
be close to $6,000 (£3,200). Will newlyweds, or their families, pay
these prices? So far there has been no shortage of enquiries.

 

There’s
a new Deep Throat frenzy. A report that the mysterious, and
still-secret, informer who blew the whistle on the Watergate scandal is
ailing – and maybe even near death’s door – has revived speculation
about the tipster’s identity. Both Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the
Washington Post reporters who wrote the Watergate stories always
pledged they would not reveal Deep Throat’s identity until his death.
The latest speculation was provoked by a story by former White House
insider John Dean in the LA Times. It suggested that Deep Throat was
seriously ill – and the Washington Post’s former managing editor, Ben
Bradlee, has written the obituary. Editor and Publisher , the American
equivalent of Press Gazette , is even running a contest inviting
readers to guess the name of what it calls the most famous journalistic
source in history.

The prize: a free year’s subscription.

 

There
is a spate of brand new publishing offices rising in mid-town
Manhatten. The most spectacular is the 46-storey headquarters of Hearst
Magazines . It is designed by prize-winning British architect Lord
Norman Foster and is costing a reputed $500 million. When it is
finished in 2006 it promises to outclass every other publishing company
office in the city, including the new Time-Warner headquarters on
nearby Columbus Circle. The building – which was officially “topped
out” last week – has a 164-seat private screening room, a 380-seat
cafeteria and a fitness centre for the 2,000 employees. Of course, now
the guessing is who will get the best offices with views of the city
and Central Park. The 17th floor has already been assigned to Seventeen
magazine and the 28th floor is going to Good Housekeeping. But one of
the floors near the top, the 32nd, is expected to go to Hearst’s
top-selling magazine, Cosmopolitan .

Says Hearst Magazine’s president Cathy Black: “It seems appropriate.”

 

Also
looking for new office space in New York is the National Enquirer .
There are, reportedly, plans to move the former number one American
supermarket tabloid from Florida – where its offices were the target of
an anthrax terrorist – to Manhatten. It will be getting a new
editor-chief and there are plans, it’s also reported, to make some
editorial changes – including running more investigative and true-crime
stories.

Publisher David Pecker wants to leave the bulk of
celebrity reporting to The Star and the new low-price magazine he is
planning to launch soon called Celebrity Living Weekly.

 

Where will it end? The battle for off-beat ad space is heating up.

The
latest? A man here has sold his forehead – for $3,700 (about £2,000) –
to advertise a snoring remedy called Snorestop. The same ad agency is
now negotiating to place an ad on a pregnant women’s belly !

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