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Archives: January 2013

Land $2 Per Word at Marie Claire

 With a total readership of 3.8 million, Marie Claire‘s audience is as passionate about human rights around the world as it is about the latest fashion trends to hit the runway. And enterprising freelancers can land a cool $2 a word with a successful pitch to the glossy.

For starters, newsy ideas for long-form reported features or first-person survival or adventure stories are very welcome. Examples of recent news features include an award-winner about scams operated by fraudsters claiming to be raising money for breast cancer research, and another focused on the dangerous effects of Ambien on women.

For more info and contact info for all editors accepting pitches, read How To Pitch: Marie Claire. [Mediabistro AvantGuild subscription required]

Atop Mulholland Drive, Reporter’s Assignment Starts with a Charlie Sheen Dotted Line

Even though Charlie Sheen has mercifully stopped making boastful “tiger blood” DNA claims, those three initials are still part of his Mulholland Drive gated community make-up. Only now, they’ve been re-arranged to spell NDA.

We know this because Karina Longworth leads off her fun house-call LA Weekly cover story with a reminder that celebs like Sheen are doing all they can to prevent a triggering of the TMZ coffers. With, in the reformed actor’s case, a little help from seasoned entertainment PR pro Larry Solters. From Longworth’s article:

I am intercepted in Sheen’s driveway by a security guard, a friendly, not-intimidatingly-large man who asks me to come with him into the garage to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

This is a first for me. I scan the five pages of legalese, in which the undersigned — me — is referred to as “the Employee.” To what extent, I wonder, will signing this document impede my ability to do my actual job of interviewing Sheen and his childhood friend, Roman Coppola, about their new movie, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III?

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Hackers in China Have Been Attacking The New York Times Since October

When the editors at The New York Times delivered the well-reported piece exposing the extreme wealth of China’s prime minister, they probably weren’t that surprised when China blocked the online version of the piece. However, since then, hackers in China have been infiltrating the Times’ computers, gathering emails and passwords. This is a high tech spy story for the ages.

During the digital attack, the hackers installed malicious maleware that allowed them to gain entry to any Times computer. The hackers stole every Times employee corporate password and used this inforamtion to gain access to 53 personal computers. The Times says no customer information was accessed. The hackers tried to hide what they were doing, but the Times caught on:

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This Guy Owns a Ferrari, a Bentley and Now… A Local Newspaper

Alan Smolinisky‘s 15-month old son Charlie was named in honor of billionaire investor Charles Munger. In his home, there is also a framed, flattering hand-written note from another three-comma titan, Warren Buffett.

So why would Smolinisky have paid seven figures for the money-losing Pacific Palisades weekly newspaper the Palisadian-Post? Because, like Aaron Kushner with the Orange County Register, Doug Manchester down in San Diego and the LA Times‘ imminent new owner, this savvy investor believes in the future of a well-targeted and storied print publication. Per Martha GrovesLA Times write-up:

Bill Bruns, managing editor since 1993, likes to joke that, if a resident of Brentwood won a Nobel Prize, the paper would not cover the story. But if the person lived in the Palisades the news would land on the front page.

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FishbowlNY Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

MTV News Article Fails to Deliver the Entourage Movie Goods

Following Mike Fleming‘s Tuesday night Deadline scoop about Warner Bros. giving the green light for an Entourage movie, other media outlets are playing catch-up. One of the more tantalizing headlines of this nature crossed the wire tonight:

Unfortunately, the MTV.com Q&A with Wahlberg that sits under this banner fails to live up to the tease. When reporter Josh Horowitz asked the show’s inspiration via telephone where the plot will take the beloved HBO series characters, he got this reply:

Wahlberg: You know what, I don’t know if I can give anything away. I haven’t really spoken to anybody about that particular thing. I think I can certainly get back to you about that.

MTV: OK, no worries.

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Being Jeff Zucker | Phoenix Shooting | Catching Up with Cody

TVNewser: New CNN chief Jeff Zucker is already putting his footprint on the network. The ink is barely dry on the contracts, but the pundits and critics are forming opinions about his long tenure in cable news.

TVSpy: There was another example of gun violence drawing attention, as television stations went wall-to-wall with a Phoenix office shooting. Police said five people were injured.

FishbowlLA: Diablo Cody (left), the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Juno, opens up to FBLA exclusively about returning from her motherhood hiatus.

 

Shirley MacLaine Stops by a Birthday Party for Liz Smith

1003_mockup.gifI knew it was going to be quite the scene at Michael’s today when a little birdie told me that there was going to be a lunch for Liz Smith celebrating the grand dame of gossip’s upcoming birthday at Table One. Suffice to say I wasn’t disappointed. None other than Shirley MacLaine stopped by to say hello to Liz (more on why later), and I got to chat with the legendary actress about her guest-starring stint on Downton Abbey. While the entire restaurant swiveled in our general direction, I jumped up from my seat to ask about her experience on PBS’ smash hit and she couldn’t have been more gracious.

“I loved doing the show,” she told me. “Everyone was so welcoming and great about everything. I was amazed that no matter what the weather — because it rained a lot when we were shooting — they all went on as if the sun was shining. They were wonderfully professional.” Her character, Martha Levinson, appeared in only two episodes but left quite an impact on viewers — particularly when Martha sparred with Violet, the Dowager Countess played by the legendary Maggie Smith. “That was one of my favorite days on the set,” Ms. MacLaine told me of the scene where she and Ms. Smith sat for hours in a church pew waiting for the ill-fated wedding of Lady Edith to begin. “We spent eight hours talking about life, and we never ran out of things to say.” I bet. Before she dashed out the door — she only stayed long enough to say her hellos — I asked whether she’d be returning to the series and she said, “Yes. We start shooting soon. I’m looking forward to it.” So are we.

Liz Smith with her party pals and her armadillo cake

Now, back to Liz’s lunch (described as a “southern confab”), which Hearst’s Deb Shriver put together with scribe Julia Reed and ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong. Deb was putting the finishing touches on the table, which included a bouquet of yellow roses arranged in Joe’s Texas bronzed boot and a specially designed menu (fried chicken, collard greens and corn bread) featuring a photo of Liz at a year old. Liz and Joe have a long friendship that dates back to 1968 when Joe first arrived in New York and met the fellow Texan. They forged an unbreakable bond. “I didn’t know one person when I came here and found out she was raised a block from where my mama grew up in Fort Worth. She was the only person I met who I thought didn’t talk with an accent.” The two have been great pals ever since.

Shirley MacLaine stops by Michael’s

Southern belle Deb, who has written two fabulous books on New Orleans including the gorgeous Stealing Magnolias: Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard, surprised Liz with one of the most unusual birthday cakes ever served at Michael’s or anywhere else for that matter, and had a Brooklyn baker recreate the Steel Magnolias armadillo red velvet cake. Ms. MacLaine, as you might recall, was one of the stars of the 1989 film, and she arrived with the film’s screenwriter Robert Harling to jazz up the festivities. They departed before Michael’s staff paraded through the dining room with the life-size armadillo on a platter, raising  more than a few eyebrows. Clearly thrilled by the gesture, Liz was served the head of the baked beast while the rest of the guests dug into the ‘carcass.’ Mmm… yummy.

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LAT Letters-to-the-Editor Champ Recalls His Most Succinct Moment of Glory

Responding to a recent LA Times article about an Eagle Rock resident who has placed a dozen and a half letters in the paper since 1990, a neighbor to the north revisited an even more impressive total.

Per Reader’s Rep Deidre Edgar, Trent Sanders of La Cañada Flintrige has since 1985 scored a whopping 54 published LAT letters to the editor. Along the way, he has kept things interesting by means of some additional personal challenges:

“At one time I set a goal of writing a letter published in The Times containing only one sentence,” Sanders said. “I met that goal on December 13, 2006, under the heading of ‘Bills Come Due.’ Shortly afterward, and much to my horror, another writer wrote a letter with not only one sentence, but it contained only three words!”

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Porn Legend Ron Jeremy is in Critical Condition at Cedars-Sinai

TMZ reports that porn legend Ron Jeremy drove himself to the hospital yesterday after suffering severe chest pains, whereupon doctors discovered an aneurysm near his heart. The pop culture icon is in critical condition at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. Jeremy’s manager Mike Esterman says his client’s condition is worsening. Surgery appears eminent imminent.

Here’s hoping the subject of the 2001 documentary Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy pulls through.

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