American Pie 24.10.02

The number of women breaking the "glass ceiling" in journalism, rising to the top jobs, may be declining (Press Gazette, 27 September) but it’s a different story on the political beat.

At an awards ceremony in New York, at which three international women journalists were recognised for courage in performing their jobs in countries where journalists risk their lives, guests were reminded of the time when it was the ‘Boys on the Bus’ who covered political campaigns in the US. Today, according to Mary McGrory, the outspoken syndicated columnist, at least 60 per cent of correspondents on the campaign trail are women. The Courage in Journalism awards – presented by the International Women’s Media Foundation – went this year to Kathy Gannon, who heads the AP bureau in Afghanistan and Pakistan (she spent several years covering the Taliban before they were ousted); Sandra Nyaira of the Daily News in Zimbabwe, the only woman political editor in the country, who despite threats, continued to uncover corruption in Robert Mugabe’s government; and Anna Politkovskaya, a correspondent for the biweekly Novaya Gazeta, one of the few Russian journalists brave enough to cover the war in Chechnya.

 

At least President George W Bush reads the papers. A day after the New York Times printed a story that reporters who cover the White House are fuming at the paucity of news released by the press office – and pointing out that since he took office Bush has given only 36 news conferences, compared with the 61 his father gave in the same period and the 73 that Clinton gave in his first 21 months – the President surprised the press corps by walking over to them on the White House lawn and asking if they had any questions for him. He stayed to answer 15 questions. "It’s the new me," he quipped.

 

The Manhattan mansion of Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, which has been described as the most expensive private home in New York, is for sale. The asking price: $37m (£24m). The house, which has 30 rooms and includes a Roman-sized swimming pool and a ballroom, was bought by Guccione in 1975 for $650,000 (£420,000). That was when Penthouse was rivalling Playboy. Today, the company, which officially owns the mansion, is having financial problems – and reportedly can no longer afford its $600,000 (£388,000) a year upkeep.

 

Time Inc is feeling the pinch. Just a week after folding financial magazine Mutual Funds, the company announced the closure of Sports Illustrated Women. The magazine, which had a circulation of more than 400,000, was born in 1997 when publishers saw a big future in the women’s sports market. Time Inc hoped to cash in on Sports Illustrated’s success. Despite winning awards, the magazine never enjoyed the popularity of its sister publication.

 

Also feeling the economic pinch: Forbes, the business magazine publishing company. It has closed ASAP, a magazine it started in 1992 to cover the burgeoning digital economy. It was one of the first magazines to cover the internet seriously. For 10 years, ASAP was "bundled" every other month with the company’s flagship Forbes magazine and delivered free to subscribers. But even Forbes is facing tough times. At one time it led America’s biz-mags in advertising. In the past two years its advertising has fallen 50 per cent. It’s now third in ads behind Fortune and Business Week.

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