American Pie 18.03.04

Would Harry Evans, recently knighted, consider returning to the UK? Not according to his wife, Tina Brown (oops, Lady Evans). In a lengthy interview with the website Media Bistro, she revealed that after Talk mag folded and she started writing again, The Times -her husband’s old paper – didn’t want to share her with any other publication. She did a deal, however, with TheWashington Post which, with the NY Sun, now runs her weekly column – and is slowly being accepted by Americans, as is her weekly cable TV show. As for returning to England, she insists her husband, who is now an American citizen, wouldn’t contemplate it.

“He loves America” she insists. She still travels on a British passport but may, she concedes, follow his example and become an American.

What’s wrong with Britain? The rain. “Every time I call anyone up that’s all they talk about. I can hear it in their voices,” she complains. “And whenever I go to Britain I feel wildly foreign.”

Now that Martha Stewart’s publishing empire is on the verge of disappearing in the wake of her conviction, other companies are rushing to fill the gap.

Established women’s magazines hope to pick up the advertising that previously went to Martha Stewart Living and her other publications. At the same time there is flurry of new titles aimed at the Martha Stewart market. Condé Nast, for example, encouraged by the response to its new maleoriented shopping magazine, Cargo, is to launch a shopping magazine for the home.

The category is becoming crowded. Time Inc is has a new magazine, Cottage Living, American Media plans to enter the market and Hearst is putting the finishing touches on a magazine called Shop Etc.

Arnold Schwartzenegger has a new title. In addition to film-star tough-guy, and Governor of California, he is now editor of a group of fitness magazines which include Muscle and Fitness and Flex. Unknown to most of his fans the former movie muscleman has often ghosted columns for fitness magazines. Unlike his job as governor, for which he takes no salary, Schhwartzenegger will accept a salary for his new position – although he says he will donate much to charities that encourage physical fitness. He may even, he says, pay for a new gym in the Governor’s mansion.

President Bush is notorious for not liking to answer spontaneous questions from journalists, but reporters who cover the White House have come up with a new dodge. When the president disembarks from his helicopter on the South Lawn, usually preceded by his pet dog Barney, correspondents have started calling out Barney’s name. Sometimes it works and Barney runs over to them, followed by Bush trying to retrieve his pooch – close enough for him to be peppered with questions. “We know the trick” said a White House staffer. “If they start throwing doggy bones, we’ll crack down.”

Jayson Blair, the journalist who disgraced the NY Times with his made-up stories, has been promoting his book Burning Down My Masters’ House, for which he received a $150,000 advance, to the anger of many journalists. On no occasion has he apologised for his misdeeds, indeed he mostly blames his fabrications on the atmosphere inside the Times itself. Sometimes he blames the paper for overworking him. The claim that most offended many journalists was when he suggested that none of the lies he told resulted in an American serviceman being killed in Iraq.

By Jeffrey Blyth

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