So just what’s Harold Evans doing now that he’s no longer going to be editorial director of Mortimer Zuckerman’s Daily News and U.S. News & World Report ? That’s what he and Mr. Zuckerman were talking about in Mr. Zuckerman’s office on Oct. 25. “No. 1, I’ve got a contract for two books,” said Mr. Evans, on speakerphone. They are: We the People , a prequel to his coffee table history book, The American Century , and another one, America Inc. “I’ve got some TV to do,” he said. Anything else? “I’ve been asked to write a column for the Guardian and will be writing for the Observer in England.”
Mr. Evans has had a relationship with Mr. Zuckerman since the 1980′s, when he and his wife, Tina Brown, moved here. Mr. Evans took over the Atlantic Monthly Press (then owned by Mr. Zuckerman, later sold) and became a contributing editor to U.S. News . He has a close relationship with the publisher and has long edited the weekly column he writes–or, more accurately, dictates–on the back page of U.S. News called Editorial
Mr. Evans, who had been overseeing the Daily News from a proverbial ivory tower, will now leave its editor, Debby Krenek, alone and write for U.S. News . “If I’m invited,” he hastened to add.
Mr. Zuckerman piped up: “Which he will be.”
They hadn’t yet worked this out with U.S. News editor Stephen Smith, who didn’t sound ecstatic about the whole idea. “He’s very rarely written for us,” said Mr. Smith. “If you go back and look at the record, he wrote a guest column and we ran an excerpt from his book.”
Mr. Evans has an informal role at another magazine, Ms. Brown’s Talk . He reads stories before they’re published and brainstorms with the editor. Will he spend more time on Talk ? “That’s an intriguing idea,” he said. “I’m not going to give you that Lyndon Johnson answer, that ‘If nominated, I will not run …’”
Which New York City gossip writer is leaving town to marry a man who is not the father of her child? Here’s a hint: Her name is Jeane MacIntosh, and she’s the No. 2 writer at the New York Post ‘s Page Six column. She’ll be leaving for her new life in the Midwest at the end of November.
“We’ve started the global search,” said Page Six topper Richard Johnson. “It’s very difficult to find somebody with the qualifications to be a good gossip columnist.” Which are? “Good question,” he said. “You have to be a terrific reporter and writer. And you have to have social skills and charisma if you’re going to get people to confess their innermost secrets.”
Ms. MacIntosh arrived at Page Six nearly five years ago from Fairchild Publications, where she was a trade reporter. In there among such scoops as Marla Maples and Donald Trump’s divorce and the Sultan of Brunei’s sex slave scandal, she did a turn in Australia on the News Corporation’s reporter-exchange program–and came back pregnant. (“Oops,” she said.) The baby is now 16 months old. The man she’s marrying in Chicago is, she said, “a far nicer guy” than the man who sired her child.
“To be honest,” said Ms. MacIntosh, “I’m a little bit tired of the gossip thing. I’ll miss Richard. Someone else can feed the insatiable gossip beast for a while.”
This is the second departure at Page Six this fall: The junior staff member, Kate Coyone, left tabloid reporting to become entertainment editor at Good Housekeeping . She was quickly replaced by Ian Spiegelman, former legman for New York magazine’s Intelligencer column.
Ms. MacIntosh, who’d been there for five years, is going to be harder to replace. “Her impact at the paper is much more than just a few gossip items,” said one Post writer. “She’s a real behind-the-scenes power person.”
Soon she’ll be reporting news from Chicago as a stringer for the Post , which doesn’t have a Midwest bureau. “There’s enough school shootings and tornadoes to justify it,” said Mr. Johnson.
Mike Lafavore edited Men’s Health from its start in 1988, when it was just a magazine weakling, to its current buff status as a monthly with a circulation of 1.665 million and total revenues of more than $100 million in 1998, according to a Folio magazine estimate.
He quit on Oct. 19, which was surprising even to his second in command, Greg Gutfeld, who has been promoted to editor.
“I don’t think you ever see this, where someone at the top of their game walks away,” said Mr. Gutfeld. “It doesn’t happen in sports.”
Mr. Lafavore, 47, had been doing various jobs at the Emmaus, Pa., headquarters of Rodale Inc. for some years when the idea came up for doing a non-gay physique magazine for boomers obsessed with their impending physical decline. “It’s sort of like the magazine that guys wanted but no real editors wanted to do,” said Mr. Lafavore, who was sitting at home watching TV with his kid on Oct. 25. “A kind of service magazine for guys. It’s not the kind of glamour editing that people wanted to do. No one really took a run at it. So we had a clear field.”
Rodale exploited abs obsession with a sense of humor: Along the way, such noted editors as Mark Golin (now running Details ), Jeff Satari (now deputy editor at Men’s Journal ), Carol Brietzke (now deputy editor at Cosmopolitan ) and Stephen Perrine (now Maxim ‘s co-editor) worked for him, learned the formula and moved on.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lafavore never left Emmaus for a job in the big media city. “We’re only an hourand45 minutes away,” he said. “A lot of people I know travel further from their houses in Connecticut.”
Mr. Perrine said that Mr. Lafavore had been “reluctant to let go of things,” as the magazine he started “became this big international brand.” There are 16 foreign editions and, in Mr. Perrine’s estimation, Mr. Lafavore had become stretched thin trying to edit the magazine and oversee the empire. “He was never able to let go and let other people make decisions,” he said.
Mr. Lafavore said, “If I sound like a tired man, I am. The last five years have been nonstop international travel. That certainly drains your creative energies.” He said he wasn’t sure what he’d do next, but he didn’t think it would be editing Men’s Journal . “I haven’t talked to anyone, including Men’s Journal ,” he said.
(For the moment, Wenner Media is considering not hiring a new editor to replace Terry McDonell at Men’s Journal ; Mr. McDonell, who officially shifts in-house to lead the transformation of Us into Us Weekly in January.)
Mr. Gutfeld said he didn’t have any plans to change Men’s Health . “The magazine is so successful, I’d be an idiot to try to tamper with it,” he said.
On Oct. 22, The Wall Street Journal ran an excerpt of a book called Letters of the Century: America 1900-1999 on the front page of its “Marketplace” section. The collection of letters was The Journal ‘s occasional swooning business boosterism laid raw: each letter expresses a “eureka moment,” which the paper called the “heartbeat of American ingenuity.” Included are: Walter Reed writing to his wife about his discovery of mosquito-instigated yellow fever and a letter selling retailers on the idea of the zipper.
Close readers of the page might have their own eureka moment when they realized that the book was edited by Lisa Grunwald and her husband, Stephen Adler, who is an assistant managing editor at The Journal . Mr. Adler’s affiliation was not mentioned anywhere on the page.
Marketplace editor Michael Miller deferred to Dow Jones & Company spokesman Richard Tofel. “The real authors of the piece were the writers of the letters,” said Mr. Tofel. And that’s why The Journal decided not to mention Mr. Adler’s role. But did they hear about the book because of his working there? “Absolutely,” he said.
Mr. Adler called back to say, “It was just Mike’s editorial position.” He added that he had no opinion on the matter. But did he pull any strings to get them to pay attention to it? “Everybody here knows about the book because I’m proud of it,” he said.
Vanity Fair announced its latest in a long line of well-connected, un-ink-stained contributingeditorsOct.26: Gene Pressman, the former co-chief executive of Barneys who expanded the store into women’s wear, drove fast cars, wore tight jeans and married a former model, Bonnie. (His brother, Bob Pressman, was the one who wore suits and glasses and managed the finances.)
Fortuitously, Mr. Pressman graduated from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. On the Vanity Fair masthead, he joins such non-journalists as swish actor Rupert Everett, lawyer Ed Hayes, ex-ballerina Heather Watts, ex-politico Dee Dee Myers and fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg.
Mr. Carter should prepare his staff, however. According to The Rise and Fall of the House of Barneys , his new hire had a particular strategy to end meetings on the right tone: “Just before leaving the room, he would turn and fart loudly to underscore his authority.”