American Pie 22.08.02

Not since the days of Walter Winchell and Earl Wilson has so much coverage been given to the death of a New York gossip columnist as that of Neal Travis of the NY Post, who has died, aged 62, of cancer. The Post devoted almost all its front page to his teath, plus two inside pages. There were also bulletins on radio and TV. Scores of celebrities and journalists turned out for the funeral. A high school drop-out, Travis joined a local paper in his native New Zealand at the age of 16. For almost 40 years, he worked for Rupert Murdoch, who described him as not only a great journalist but also a dear friend. At one time, Travis was editor-in-chief of three of Murdoch’s Australian papers: the Sydney Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and The Australian. He arrived in New York in 1966 as correspondent for the Sydney Daily Mirror. He travelled widely in the Eighties and then, when Murdoch acquired the NY Post, launched the paper’s Page Six diary. He was briefly a TV producer on Hard Copy and then returned to the Post, where he produced his column, ‘Neal Travis’s New York’, for nearly 10 years. Fellow columnist Steve Dunleavy, who knew Travis since his teens, summed up: "He was the best at everything – drinking, smoking, arguing and writing."


The world’s thinnest magazine? Probably Business Ethics. Its 15th anniversary issue runs to a mere 20 pages. Its editor admits this is not a good time for a magazine which advocates corporate responsibility. In fact, the wave of Wall Street scandals has cast such a black cloud of despair over the magazine that it is considering changing its name to something less tainted – perhaps just Economics.


Having hired Canadian newswoman Bonnie Fuller as the new editor of Us magazine, and Ed Needham Ð formerly of FHM Ð as editor of Rolling Stone, publisher Jann Wenner is turning his attention to the third publication in his stable: Men’s Journal. Launched 10 years ago as a men’s outdoors magazine, it has been languishing of late. So now it’s going to look indoors, attempting to compete with the likes of Esquire and GQ. A new editor has been appointed – Robert Wallace, former editorial director at Tina Brown’s Talk. "That was an intense experience," he recalls. The new job is something of a homecoming for Wallace. For 15 years, he worked for Wenner in various capacities. He was with Rolling Stone when it was launched in San Francisco in the Sixties and even came up with the name Men’s Journal.


How will the US media mark the anniversary of last September’s terror attacks? With lots of special issues. Time is working on a double issue. Newsweek is producing a special extra issue. US News and World Report has prepared a 96-page supplement, while The New Yorker is devoting its entire issue to the anniversary. Rolling Stone will feature musicians and artists talking about how the tragedy affected their work. USA Today is planning a week-long series. AP is preparing a big package of stories for papers around the world. Atlantic magazine is running the second part of a 60,000-word feature on the destruction and rebuilding of the World Trade Center – a feature that has already doubled its sales. People magazine will devote its anniversary issue to how the terror attacks have changed people’s lives. Interestingly, unlike last year, when most US titles dropped advertising in the special issues they published after the attacks, the anniversary issues will be running ads.


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