American Pie 24.06.04

It would seem unlikely that legendary editor Helen Gurley Brown, who made Cosmo into the sexiest and best selling women’s magazine in the world, will endorse Sam Baker’s plan to tone down the sex in the UK edition. Although now 82, the veteran US editor still supervises the many overseas editions of Cosmo. She still believes writing about sex is an invaluable service for women readers. This month, the best-seller she wrote in 1964, Sex and the Office, is being reissued. One of the questions she poses is whether, now that women have become editors of more magazines, any of the male staff ever dream of an affair with their boss.T aking her up on that, MediaBistro website conducted a poll in which subscribers were asked which editor they dream about most. Sisa Mitchell, the attractive editor of Spin, received 923 votes; Aloosa Rubenstein, of Seventeen, 450 votes; Tina Brown, 179 votes; and Anna Wintour, of Vogue, 159 votes. Still to be counted: votes for the sexiest male editors.

Now that more newspapers and magazines are going online and asking subscribers for personal information, many would-be readers are complaining the questions are becoming too personal. For example, apart from the obviously necessary e-mail address, the list of questions often begins with age, marital status, job title, education and income. A spokesman for the American Society of Newspaper Editors explained: “One of the things newspapers are trying to do is get a grasp on who’s using their websites and how much.” Of course, it’s also useful information for advertisers. But some privacy groups are urging people to sign up using names like Mickey Mouse. Since the Philadelphia Inquirer started registration in March, 10 to 15 per cent of the 300,000 subscribers have given phony information.

It’s an unusual name for a US magazine, but Cottage Living is Time Inc’s latest entry into the crowded home market. The term “cottage” refers more to lifestyle than architecture. It will be a magazine of “relaxed informality”, explains editor Eleanor Griffin, who has spent nine years at a magazine called Southern Living. “For example,” she said, “we will show pictures of kids jumping on beds. Nobody else does that.” It will be a contrast to the picture-perfect lifestyle promoted by Martha Stewart, and the longestablished Better Homes & Gardens and House Beautiful. Time Inc says it has several other new mags on the stocks, among them Nuts, a US version of the British men’s title.

Proof you can never judge a magazine by its cover: a survey of 245 US magazines shows that readers of some unexpected magazines have higher incomes than those who might be expected to be wealthy. For example, the median income of readers of the tabloidish US Weekly is higher than that of readers of Vanity Fair – $77,967 (£42,872) and $76,422 (£42,022). Similarly, Weight Watchers’ Magazine attracts more affluent readers – $59,556 (£32,748) than Town & Country- $58,626 (£32,235). Moral: don’t judge someone’s wealth by their coffee-table mag.

According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, one in three newspaper editors in the US are women.In other categories 26 per cent of photographers are now women, just under 40 per cent of reporters are women and female sub-editors (or copy editors as they are called here) make up more than 41 per cent.In fact, women entering the profession from college and journalism schools now outnumber men.

By Jeffrey Blyth

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