Hello! drops celebrity

 Hello! dropped its celebrity cover this week, claiming sales did not matter after the terrorist attack on New York.

The magazine pulled several exclusives to make room for a 44-page special report with a sombre black and white front page.

Editor Phil Hall said: "Our view was you just could not ignore it, and it would have been disrespectful to our readers to pretend it did not happen.

"We had to drop a lot of material, but we see ourselves as news driven as well as celebrity driven."

Hall said he approached Hello!’s proprietor, Eduardo Sanchez, with a number of ideas – including a separate supplement – but it proved too difficult to get it out in time.

"He said, ‘I just want to clear the decks and do this well’. If Hello! is to be taken seriously you must give it the space it deserves.

"How can you possibly bring out a magazine and not register some of the most frightening photographs ever seen? Circulation figures, whether they are good or bad, are not important," said Hall.

OK! is expected to relate the events in its ‘World in Action’ section, but an insider said it would not devote as much space as Hello!

Jane Ennis, editor of Now, admitted it was a dilemma: "It is a very difficult one for light and frothy celebrity magazines. The temptation is to do lots, especially for journalists who have worked in newspapers, but you have got to remember what you are. It doesn’t make a lot of sense because the newspapers have done it so well and so endlessly," she said.

Ennis said she was also prepared for a decline in sales. "People are saying,

‘I don’t know if I want to read about Posh Spice’s new hairstyle, I want to read the newspapers.’ I have a feeling we may have taken quite a battering."

Heat also produced a two-page spread on how the tragedy affected the entertainment world. Editor Mark Frith said: "You have got to be sensitive about how the subject is treated, and try and cover it in your own way."

lStaff at Take a Break magazine were said to be "disgusted" by the insensitive nature of an internal memo from editor John Dale on the three-minute silence.

Dale said the gesture was on the "thin edge of a gratuitous insertion of politics into our office".

Staff were told they were free to hold a three-minute silence, but they would have to do it in the staff room on the first floor.

Dale told Press Gazette: "My view is that what happened in New York was the most appalling act of terrorism ever. My greatest fear, and one supported by quite a few of my colleagues at Take a Break, was that we were in danger of answering hate with hate, and that might turn into evil against evil.

"If someone wishes to misinterpret a sincerely held opinion, then I can live with that. Most people know exactly what I mean."

By Ruth Addicott

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