American Pie 26.09.02

The number of women who reach the top in newspapers is declining. Of the top 30 papers in the US, only eight have women editors; 19 have changed editors in the past three years but only four chose women to fill the position. The three papers which did have women editors – The New York Daily News, The New York Post and the Arizona Republican – now have men in the top job. Overall the number of women in top executive positions at US newspapers has dropped from 25 per cent in 2000 to 20 per cent today. As one executive put it: "The status of women in American newsrooms is stagnant."

 

Rosie O’Donnell finally walked. After weeks of secret negotiations, she has ended her association with Rosie, the magazine named after her. At a press conference after her walk-out she declared: "I cannot have my name on a magazine if I cannot be assured that it will represent my vision and my ideas." Publisher Gruner + Jahr, hoping to stem the fall in sales since the former chatshow hostess revealed she was a lesbian, brought in a new editor, whom O’Donnell tried to fire. The December issue of Rosie, which has gone to the printers, may be the last. There are sure to be lots of law suits. G+J claims to have invested several million dollars in the magazine. O’Donnell is planning a trip to London where she is involved in the production of the Boy George musical Taboo.

 

It’s now 18 months since the US version of The Week was launched. It’s still tiny – in size and circulation – but sales and subscriptions of the mini news weekly are climbing. It claims its circulation will reach 125,000 by next year. It’s a long way short of the 3,900,000 that Time sells, but executives at Dennis Publishing are not unhappy. They are selling at least 25,000 more than the British edition of The Week. Five years from now, publisher Carolyn Kremins forecasts a circulation of 500,000. The next big step will be increasing its pages from 40 to 44 each issue.

 

It’s only six months old but the New York Sun is claiming its circulation has grown to around 20,000. Although still something of a curiosity, the Sun has gained a toe-hold in the market. But how much is it costing? One if its backers, businessman Roger Hertog, admits that over $25m (£16m) has been budgeted over the next three to four years before the paper turns a profit.

 

What are well-equipped war correspondents carrying these days? A mobile phone, laptop, maybe a bullet-proof vest and – if they are wise – a supply of Valium or Prozac. That’s the advice of a team of doctors and psychiatrists who have studied the traumatic effect on journalists of conflict in the Middle East, Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia and Afghanistan. Their report, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry and looking at foreign correspondents working for six major news organisations, shows that many suffered from more depression and post-traumatic stress disorders than colleagues who never cover wars. It says that after returning home, war corrs often suffer disturbing mental flashbacks, recurring nightmares, irritability and reluctance to mix with friends. Their alcohol intake also increases. However, few of them seek professional advice. One of the report’s conclusions is that journalism is a decade or so behind other disciplines in recognising the risks – not just physical – to those working in areas of conflict and violence.

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