Archives: June 2008
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Was insecurity behind the “excessive,” emotional, days-long Tim Russert remembrances? That’s what Howard Kurtz seems to think and not just because television is full of middle-aged white men who maybe got a sudden unwelcome taste of their own mortality. Kurtz says it actually has to do with the fact that,
Russert was a popular figure in a field whose practitioners are often mocked and derided, a credible commentator in a widely distrusted profession. Journalists of all stripes wanted to be associated with him, perhaps hoping a little of the magic dust would rub off.Not only that, it seems that even though Russert was hugely successful producers today “are terrified of boring the audience” (apparently notwithstanding fireside chats) and basically the fear is that without Russert we’re all destined to get our news off YouTube or from cable loudmouths, which if newspapers continue their current decline doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched idea, though as Kurtz points out “the last thing embattled journalists should do is remain mired in the past, dreaming of the glories of Russert’s heyday.”
Last week there was a lot of buzz about whether Jann Wenner was considering selling Rolling Stone to Conde Nast. And while there’s been no confirmation on this either for or against Keith Kelly is reporting that Wenner may in fact be looking to sell celeb mag US Weekly to the Nasties.
Of course, no one will confirm or deny this either, though one “inside source” tells Kelly that “perfect sense for Conde Nast to buy US Weekly given it’s women, it’s celebrities and Us Weekly is respectable now.” Because clearly “respectable” is what the struggling magazine industry is gunning for these days. Anyway, the rumored price tag is $750 million. Stay tuned.
Finally a magazine shuffle that has nothing to do with drops in ad revenue. WWD is reporting that after attending a Barack Obama fund-raiser hosted by Calvin Klein, Anna Wintour, Shelby Bryan and Andre Leon Talley, Elle associate publisher Samantha Fennell has decided to jump ship and join the campaign: “I’ve been raising money for magazines for 15 years, so I figure I can do this.” Fennell is not the first media type to take their love of Obama to its extreme conclusion. Back in May former ABC News correspondent and contributing editor at the National Journal Linda Douglass also crossed the line.
As a result of Fennel’s departure Elle will move Daniel Ragone, vice president and publisher Elle Decor, to vice president/managing director at Elle and Barbara Friedmann, vice president/group marketing director for Elle and Elle Decor, will step in as vice president/acting publisher of Elle Decor. So basically the way things are going maybe all Sam Zell needs to do is throw a Obama fund-raiser in the hopes of pawning off all his excess reporters on the campaign.
Newspaper reorganizations are all the rage these days, and Gannett Co., Inc — publisher of 85 daily newspapers, including USA Today — didn’t want to be left out. The company, based in McLean, Virginia, announced on Friday that its turning its five regional groups into four: East, South, Interstate and West.
Current East head Curtis Riddle, also publisher of Wilmington, Delaware’s The News Journal, will continue in his role. Carol O. Hudler, president and publisher of Fort Myers’ The News-Press, will head up the South group, while Barbara A. Henry takes control of Interstate until her retirement on August 1. Finally, Laura L. Hollingsworth, president and publisher of The Des Moines Register, becomes group president of West.
Finally an answer to the question we’ve been asking for weeks now: What will Bonnie Fuller do next? Well, according to the Times the woman responsible for introducing “a lot of Angelina and a ton of Paris, and…far too much of Britney” to just about every corner of our lives (for reasons we’re unclear on the Times makes this sound like a admirable thing) is currently launching her own start-up called Bonnie Fuller Media. The company will reportedly be “heavily digital and offer a variety of femme-friendly products that will include, but not be limited to, gossip, fashion and romance,” making us wonder if maybe we need to update our definition of “femme-friendly” products.
For her part Fuller says she’s ready to “plunge in to the unknown” though it’s also unclear how “gossip, fashion and romance” qualify as un-chartered waters to the former editor of Us Weekly and Star magazine. Perhaps she’s actually referring to the fact she now takes the subway, or answers her own email (at least according to Portfolio).
In a move that came sooner than expected Bob Gremillion, a longtime Tribune Co. executive, has been named interim publisher of the Chicago Tribune effective Monday. This comes in the wake of Scott Smith announcing earlier this month that he was stepping down after thirty years at the paper, though at the time he signaled that he would stay on until a replacement could be found.
Gremillion, who says he no intention of staying in the position permanently, currently oversees “six smaller dailies,” which are apparently “intended to be the laboratories for radical journalistic and operational change at the debt-ridden company.” Radical change being the dose of “reality” currently being inflicted by Sam Zell on Tribune companies in the form of reduced employees and pages.
It looks like we have another reason to love Gail Collins. Remember last week when the New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt, after being inundated with complaints of sexist coverage at the Time that “often boiled down to” Dowd, called MoDo out for going “over the top” in her election year columns. And then Dowd responded by saying, actually, I’ve been “twisting” gender sterotypes for years before going on to skewer both Carla Bruni, disgruntled Hillary supporters, and Bill Clinton’s “self-pitying meltdown.” Well it looks like Collins, who was once the editorial page editor herself, did not take too kindly to Hoyt’s “assault.”
As a Times columnist, I never envisioned myself writing a letter to a fellow resident of the paper’s opinion section. But I feel compelled to respond to your assault on Maureen Dowd. Your complaint about Maureen seems to be that many supporters of Hillary Clinton found her columns offensive. As a former editorial page editor, I can absolutely assure you that supporters of many, many candidates from both parties have found Maureen’s columns offensive over the years…When the public editor laces into an opinion page columnist for making fun of a controversial political figure, it sounds like a suggestion that all of us tone things down. I hope I’m hearing wrong.One wonders if MoDo would ever be capable of making a similar gesture.
Karl Rove meet the future. According to an article in today’s NYT some young Obamaites have taken the “all for one, one for all” mantra to an unusual (and we will admit, sort of awesome) conclusion. Apparently deciding that even if the Obama campaign appears to be disassociating itself from the Muslim community there’s a little Hussein in all of us, many supporters have taken to using Obama’s middle name as their own.
Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Ms. Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on Facebook.com…”Emily Hussein Nordling,” her entry now reads. With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name. The result is a group of unlikely-sounding Husseins: Jewish and Catholic, Hispanic and Asian and Italian-American, from Jaime Hussein Alvarez of Washington, D.C., to Kelly Hussein Crowley of Norman, Okla., to Sarah Beth Hussein Frumkin of Chicago.
So yeah, who could have guessed Karl Rove’s career of fear-mongering, swift-boating campaigning would have met its match in Emily (Hussein) Nordling. Now everyone go stand on their desk.
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