American Pie 08.05.02

It was predicted that online magazines would some day replace traditional magazines. But a new survey by InsightExpress reveals that fewer than one in three people with computers read any magazines online. The reasons given: the inconvenience of not being able to curl up in a chair or take the reading material to the bathroom (54 per cent); dislike of pop-up and banner ads (47 per cent); cost (43 per cent); and eye strain (23 per cent). Of those who do read online, only 22 per cent preferred online to regular magazines. The only praise given to online offerings was their timeliness and ability to deliver "on-time" news and information.

PJ Clarke’s, once the most popular journalists’ hangout in New York, is going global. Closed at the moment for renovations, the owners of the Manhattan saloon on Third Ave are planning to open a namesake in Las Vegas, New Orleans and then London. Already a number of investors have shown an interest. Apart from newspapermen, the old PJ Clarke’s regulars included Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and even Jackie Onassis, who was partial to the pub’s hamburgers.

This month marks the start of Army Archer’s 50th year writing Variety’s gossip column. To celebrate, the Hollywood showbiz paper is throwing a big bash at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to which lots of the stars he’s written about over the years have been invited. Among his scoops: the 1985 report that Rock Hudson had AIDS, Julia Roberts’ runaway marriage in 1991, and Warren Beatty’s secret marriage to Annette Bening in 1992. Now that he has turned 80, the veteran newsman has decided to cut back a bit – to four columns a week instead of five.

Tony Frost, editor of The Star for the past 18 months, is returning to The Globe, which he edited until it moved from New York to Florida. Candice Trunzo will replace him.


Criticism of the way US papers and TV stations have been covering the Middle East has provoked soul-searching among journalists. Some are doubting the quality of the training young journalists receive before they are sent on big assignments overseas and questioning how well equipped they are for the job. In a survey of more than 400 journalists, presented at this year’s conference of the Society of American Newspaper Editors, most of those questioned admitted they did not feel fully prepared to cover the most significant issues facing the country. The study found that 56 per cent rated the overall quality of reporting as three on a scale of one to five (one being poor, five excellent). Nearly three-quarters rated their preparedness for covering important stories as a three or less.

Remaining members of the now defunct Talk magazine had narrow escapes when a gas explosion ripped through their Manhattan building, injuring more than 50 workers, many seriously. Tina Brown was not in the building at the time, but Talk’s former offices were badly damaged.

When Henry Luce launched Time magazine in 1929 he offered would-be readers a "lifetime" subscription for $60 (£41), which was a hefty figure in those days. According to Time Inc, exactly 144 people signed up and even after death their heirs continue to get the magazine, which makes it an ever bigger bargain. Today a lifetime subscription to Time costs $1,000 (£686) – but it’s not inheritable.

By Jeffrey Blyth

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