American Pie 27.06.02

Although it’s more than 30 years since the Watergate break-in, which led to the ousting of Richard Nixon, the identity of "Deep Throat", the tipster who provided the Washington Post with much of its material, is still a mystery. Former White House lawyer John Dean hinted he would reveal the name in a book he and a group of University of Illinois journalism students have spent three years researching (Press Gazette, 15 March). The book, The Unmasking of Deep Throat, puts forward at least four names. The new suspects are former Nixon speech writer and columnist Pat Buchanan, White House press secretary Ron Ziegler, his assistant Jerry Warren and another Nixon assistant Raymond Price. But none of the four suspects has admitted to being the gravel-voiced informant who used to meet Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward late at night. Dean says he is still working on the unmasking project. As for Woodward and Bernstein, they say their informant is still alive but won’t name him until he dies. Does anyone still care?


Despite all the predictions, Ed Needham, who has been lured from FHM to Rolling Stone, insists that he does not intend to turn the pioneer music magazine into another lads’ mag. "People assume that because I come from FHM I am going to turn Rolling Stone into FHM. That’s ludicrous," the 37-year-old Cambridge-born journalist told the San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco is where Rolling Stone had its start back in the Sixties when it not only chronicled the rise of Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, but also covered politics and even such news stories as the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst. Needham’s mission, it’s said, will be to update – even reinvent – the magazine. Its most pressing competitor these days is seen as Blender, which after just eight issues claims a circulation of 350,000 and is going soon from bimonthly to 10 issues a year.


Although repairs to the headquarters of The Wall Street Journal, badly damaged in the attack on the World Trade Center, have been completed, many of the paper’s staff are reluctant to return to their old downtown offices. A poll of the staff showed that of 175 reporters and newsroom staff, 72 per cent want the paper to find quarters elsewhere. Many are still traumatized by the disaster, others fear for their health. The murder of colleague Daniel Pearl in Karachi has added to their anxiety. One writer said: "This is where I ran for my life on September 11, I don’t want to go back there every day." A spokesman for the paper said: "If some of the staff need counselling we will provide it." But he added: "We were founded downtown in 1888 and we are going to remain downtown."


Hoping to emulate the success of MORE, the spin-off from the Ladies’ Home Journal aimed at women over 40, Fairchild Publications is contemplating launching a magazine for older women. Its editor is expected to be Jane Pratt, editor at the moment of Jane, the magazine named after her, who has herself just turned 40 and is expecting her first baby. She is one of the rising stars of the women’s magazine world here, having reinvented the teen magazine Sassy, and then taken on the 20-plus age group with Jane. Pratt was only 24 when she was appointed editor of Sassy, which soon became a favourite of hippy teenagers, before it was folded in 1996. This year Adweek named her Editor of the Year.


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