American Pie 30.09.05

American
newspapers are facing a bleak time. Even the largest papers are cutting
back staff. The NY Times, regarded as America’s number one (and
wealthiest) paper, is laying off 500 workers – including 45 in the
newsroom. At the same time the Boston Globe (also owned by the NYT) is
laying off 35 newsroom staff. In Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia
Enquirer and its sister paper the Philadelphia Daily News are laying
off 100 newsroom staff. It is also closing down its bureau in Rome. Ten
years ago the paper had four foreign bureaux – now it has one. Other
papers are folding. The Birmingham Post- Herald, the afternoon paper in
Alabama’s largest city, has closed after 55 years. Its owner, the
Scripps company, cited “economic realities” as the reason. Another
paper cutting back staff is the San Jose Mercury News in California,
which is slashing 50 jobs – almost a 20 per cent reduction in its
editorial staff.

For years Anna Wintour, the Britishborn editor
of Vogue (whose father, Charles Wintour, was briefly editor of Press
Gazette) has been the target of animal rights activists because she has
consistently refused to ban adverts in Vogue for fur coats and other
fur clothing (protesters once dumped an animal carcass on her plate at
the fashionable Four Seasons restaurant).

Now she is in trouble with fat people.

It
started when one of her contributing editors reported on TV that
Wintour does not like people who are overweight. In fact, she once
insisted TV talk-show hostess Oprah Winfrey take off 30lbs before she
would run her picture on the cover of Vogue (Oprah complied!).

“Most
of the Vogue girls are so thin because Miss Anna doesn’t like fat
people,” reported fashion writer Andre Talley. The comment aroused the
ire of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, which is now
planning a protest, plus a demonstration of New York fatties, outside
Vogue’s Times Square offices.

The new weekend edition of the Wall
Street Journal got a mixed reception. Some felt it was a worthy
extension of the daily edition, but others didn’t welcome the idea of a
business paper on a Saturday, “The WSJ works so well because we don’t
have to read it on the weekend,” complained one reader. “This makes me
feel I should go to the office.” Dow Jones, which owns the Journal,
decided to revive the weekend edition (stopped 50 years ago when the NY
Stock Exchange ended Saturday trading) in the hope of regaining lost
advertising, especially from the entertainment and travel industries.

With
the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina likely to make news for some
time to come, many US news organisations are planning to open bureaux
in New Orleans – among them CNN and NBC. The NY Times is also opening a
bureau in nearby Baton Rouge. Several other organisations plan to keep
full-time correspondents in the region.

More journalists have now
been killed in Iraq than during the whole 20 years of conflict in
Vietnam. Since US forces and allies moved into Iraq in March 2003, 67
journalists and their assistants have been killed. In Vietnam, 63
journalists were killed between 1955 and 1975.

Th
New York Post has a new publisher. A back-room executive, Paul
Carlucci, who is credited with pushing up sales and ad income at the
Post, has been appointed to succeed Lachlan Murdoch (pictured) who,
amid reports of a family fallout, gave up the position of publisher to
return to his native Australia. Before joining the Murdoch
organisation, Carlucci worked in sales promotion for two large retail
companies, Caldor and RH Macy. He started his career in advertising
sales at the rival New York Daily News.

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