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Posts Tagged ‘American Media’

Bogus National Enquirer Story Begets $45,000 Writing Prize

NationalEnquirerLogoIn the space of three weeks, the National Enquirer has gone from being duped by a David Bar Katz impersonator, to withdrawing and apologizing for an erroneous story, to endowing a stage play writing initiative hatched by the real Mr. Katz.

It’s all laid out in the New York Times by “About New York” writer Jim Dwyer. Ahead of a full-page ad that will appear in Wednesday’s NYT print edition as part of Enquirer parent company American Media Incorporated’s quick settlement with Katz. From Dwyer’s piece:

The amount of money being paid by The Enquirer will not be disclosed, [Katz's attorney Judd] Burstein said, adding, “It’s enough for the [newly formed American Playwriting] Foundation to give out these grants for years to come.” He formally filed papers to dismiss the lawsuit on Tuesday.

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Mediabistro Course

Magazine Writing

Magazine WritingStarting September 4, learn how to get your work in top publications! You'll learn how to create captivating stories editors will want and readers will love, understand which magazines are right for your stories, craft compelling pitch letters, and more! You'll leave this class with two polished articles and corresponding pitch letters. Register now! 

The National Enquirer to Launch Gossip App to Capture Younger Readers

Talk about lofty. With an iPad app launching at the end of next month, American Media’s National Enquirer is looking to “reinvent gossip” reports the New York Times.

Enquirer Plus, as the app is so aptly named, will feature exclusive content developed by a separate staff from the magazine and will target a younger market. Yep, it is trying to c0mpete with digital gossip leaders like TMZ and PerezHilton since the average age of a National Enquirer reader is like 80. No, really it’s 46.5. The goal is to transfer the brand to an exciting digital platform, while making it super cool and very gossipy.

“This is not your mother’s Enquirer,” said David J. Pecker, American Media’s chairman and chief executive.

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AMI To Get Out Of The Red In The New Year

Just 32 days removed from declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy, American Media, Inc. is hopeful that they will have their debt formally wiped away by 2011.  Publisher of major tabloids The National Enquirer and Star as well as fitness mags Shape and Flex, AMI filed for bankruptcy protection in November due to a decline in ad sales and circulation numbers.  According to Mediaweek, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York gave the green light to AMI’s prepackaged financing plan — one which will lower the company’s $855 million debt by $355 million and increase profitability.

AMI chairman, president, and CEO David Pecker comes out as the big winner in all of this as he was awarded a long-term contract from AMI’s principal shareholders.  While AMI still will have to address the challenge of selling their title’s issues in a landscape where print costs are up and ad sales are down, Pecker is optimistic for the publisher’s future:

This will allow AMI to finally capitalize on all the digital opportunities available for our brands, continue to strengthen our print properties, expand our publishing services efforts and ultimately accomplish what my goal has always been — to build a major media company that will be among the industry’s elite.

Apparently the Manhattan Bankruptcy Court didn’t get the memo on the $50 limit for all secret Santa gifts.  $355 million is quite the holiday treat, surely enough to ignore the remaining $500 million of debt.

Reader’s Digest Files For Ch. 11

rda.pngOne week after announcing its intention to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Reader’s Digest Association Inc. filed the necessary paperwork with the bankruptcy court yesterday.

In a release about the filing, the Reader’s Digest publisher said that 80 percent of its senior secured lenders had already agreed to the restructuring plan that was part of the filing. The Chapter 11 filing will only affect the company’s U.S. operations, the company added.

“Our business operations remain solid, with anticipated Fiscal 2009 revenue only down by low single digits, currency neutral, despite the recession,” said Mary Berner, the company’s president and CEO, in a statement. “We look forward to emerging with a restructured balance sheet and as a financially stronger organization that is positioned to pursue our growth and transformational initiatives.”

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Bonnie Fuller Returns To Editor-In-Chief Spot at Celeb Web Site

bonnie.pngShe once helped celebrity magazine Us Weekly become a must-read and guided American Media, which publishes Star. Then Bonnie Fuller left the world of magazines last year to launch her own company, Bonnie Fuller Media. But now she’s put those plans on hold, returning to a role as editor-in-chief — of a Web site.

Yesterday, David Carr of The New York Times reported that Fuller had been named editor and president of HollywoodLife, a celebrity site based in Los Angeles owned by Mail.com Media Corporation.

Mail.com made a splash last month when it purchased Hollywood reporter Nikki Finke‘s Web site DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com. Carr also has a profile of Finke on today’s front page of the Times, in which he reveals that she “stands to make more than $5 million in the next eight years,” from the sale of her blog. “And her deal could go as high as $10 million,” Carr added, citing an anonymous source with knowledge of the matter.

So is Mail.com, which also owns Movieline.com and OnCars.com, finished snapping up big name media personalities, or are there more to come? And what exactly does Mail.com owner Jay Penske plan for the future of his media empire? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

(Photo from Fuller’s Twitter page)

Two Magazines Lose Top Talent After Short Tenures

o.pngThis week, we learned of two top magazine staffers, one publisher and one editor-in-chief, leaving their posts after just a few months on the job.

First came word that Susan Reed is leaving her spot as editor-in-chief at O, The Oprah Magazine after less than a year at the helm of the Hearst pub. Before joining O, Reed served as the editor-in-chief at Golf for Women for more than six years. She will be replaced by Time Inc.‘s Susan Casey.

Also this week, the New York Post reported that Francis Farrell will be leaving the publisher slot at Men’s Journal after less than six months. Farrell formerly worked as publisher National Geographic Traveler and joined the men’s magazine in October 2008. Farrell will be replaced by Matt Mastrangelo, the Post said.

The Post also reported that American Media, which publishes Star and National Enquirer has lost its CFO Dean Durbin after only a year and a half — not quite as short a stint as the others but a quick turnaround nonetheless.

Discounted InDesign Class This Weekend!

indesign.pngWhether you are seeking a magazine job, freelancing or already on staff, knowing InDesign will undoubtedly give you a leg up in the industry.

If you need to learn the page layout program or just want to brush up your skills (summer interns and unemployed magazine types, we’re looking at you) then you’re in luck. This weekend in New York, Mediabistro is offering a two-day course on the basics of InDesign, led by Patricia Ryan. Ryan has over 15 years of experience in the design industry, and has worked as an art director and graphic designer for media companies including Hachette Filipacchi, American Media and Rodale. By the end of the course, you will be editorially proficient in InDesign — and that looks good on a resume, too.

And if you’re not convinced yet, you can pick up your ticket now and take $100 off. Just use the code TW100 when you check out. Click here to register.

More Signs of the Times: NYT Suspends Dividend, MPA Loses More Members

thenewyorktimes1.jpgThere are weeks when it feels as though the demise of print suddenly accelerates and this might be one of them.

After more than a year of refusing to cut its dividend — it finally did so back in November — the New York Times Co. has decided to do away with it altogether, though the term they are using is “suspend.” In a month long period that has seen the Times borrowing $260 million from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, and selling a portion of its new building, this is just further evidence of the paper’s financial struggles. One wonders at what point a seven dollar a month online subscription fee stops seeming sacrilegious.

Meanwhile, more magazine companies have announced they are abandoning the MPA ship.

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