Off The Record

On Monday, April 10, a memo from executive editor Joseph Lelyveld was posted around the offices of The New York Times . It read: “I’d be grateful if you can join me in the newsroom at 2:30 this afternoon. I’ve a few things I want to say about our work over the past year.”

While the Pulitzer winners are technically kept secret until they are announced at 3 P.M., editors generally get the leak if their papers have won. Down in Washington, television cameras were being set up in The Washington Post newsroom early in the afternoon to capture their jubilation in snagging three Pulitzers. And early Monday morning it was well known in town that the Village Voice had won its award for international reporting.

Back at 43rd Street, the Times staff dutifully gathered on the 3rd floor for the good news. There’s always good news in the Times newsroom; since 1970, the Times has missed the Pulitzer only four times total, since 1985, not once. Last year the staff cheered jubilant Maureen Dowd, while they downed cake and champagne.

This year, no cake. Promptly at 2:30, the staff gathered and Mr. Lelyveld climbed a small step ladder to announce that the Times had won nothing. The staff was silent while the phones went unanswered and, for about 20 minutes, the news gathering operation ground to a halt. Mr. Lelyveld suggested applause for the four Times writers who were Pulitzer finalists. He said, according to one Times man, “that when we win, we say it doesn’t matter.” Then he added, “But apparently it does.”

Some of the Times staff bristled at the arrogance of holding a staff meeting to say you didn’t win anything. “He was being very kind and fatherly,” one reporter said, “but do you really think that the editor at the Pittsburgh Gazette got up on a chair and said, ‘Damn boys, losers again! But don’t give up’?”

ina Brown finally filled the executive editor’s position at Talk this week, vacant for five months since David Kuhn left for Brill’s Content and, Mr. Brill’s media e-commerce venture. Ms. Brown hired Vicky Ward, the news features editor at the New York Post.

Robert Wallace, Talk ‘s editorial director under whom Ms. Ward will be working, said of the hire, “With her breaking news experience, Vicky Ward brings tremendous depth and will serve as a key player in the planning and strategy for future issues.”

Talk staffers were beginning to wonder if there was going to be a replacement for Mr. Kuhn. Mr. Wallace, who arrived at Talk shortly before Mr. Kuhn’s departure, has stepped in to fill the role as Ms. Brown’s deputy. With Ms. Brown’s focus increasingly on the broader affairs of Talk Media, Ms. Ward will be in charge of the day to day business of the actual magazine.

Until Talk moves down to West 20th Street from its cramped West 57th Street offices, Ms. Ward may be bunking with Mr. Wallace. “We’re packed in like sardines,” said one Talk staffer.

At the New York Post , people were surprised to see Ms. Ward, 30, go; just last February she had been promoted to the newly created position of news features editor.

Ms. Ward started her career at The Daily Telegraph in London before moving on to become the New York features correspondent for the Daily Mail , also published out of London. At the Post , she was responsible for breaking the romance between Salman Rushdie and cookbook beauty Padma Lakshmi, as well as other photo-and-sex features throughout the news section. “Sex sells,” Ms. Ward said, “I’m hot on layouts and pictures-you have to have the right pictures.”

When she was promoted to news features editor, Ms. Ward’s staff had to be physically moved from the editorial and entertainment section of the newsroom to the news and business side. Post sources said that Stuart Marques, the Post managing editor for news, and others, were skeptical about starting a new section, concerned that Ms. Ward would, said one writer, “be gobbling up a lot of space in the paper with possibly frivolous stories.” But Ms. Ward had the support of Post editor in chief Xana Antunes.

Ms. Ward’s departure caused a stir at News Corporation, whose chairman, Rupert Murdoch, takes a particular interest in the New York Post . “When people like her are thinking of leaving News Corp., it goes all the way up to Rupert,” said one Post staffer. In Ms. Ward’s case, she said she spoke with Mr. Murdoch’s son Lachlan, senior executive vice president of News Corp., before she made her final decision. One of the reasons she cited to her staff for leaving News Corp. was that it doesn’t have a magazine division, although Lachlan Murdoch has shown increasing interest in magazine publishing, funding Michael Caruso’s golf title, Maximum Golf .

As for Ms. Ward’s ex-co-workers, they see opportunity in her move to Talk . “I like writing long, personally,” said one New York Post reporter. “I would love to write long magazine stories.”

ince the Condé Nast Details staff was fired on March 24, former staffers have become a pretty common sight in other magazine offices.

For example, during his first week of unemployment Mark Golin, the deposed editor in chief, was spotted at the Rolling Stone offices.

“I talked to him,” Mr. Golin said of Rolling Stone owner Jann Wenner, but then said, “I’m talking to everybody. I’m trying damn hard not to have to pay for a single lunch. So far it’s been two weeks of unemployment and I’ve had an unbroken streak of paid-for lunches.”

So far, he says he’s talked to magazines, book agents, a TV network, movie production companies, and, of course, dot-coms. Mr. Golin wouldn’t say which medium he was leaning toward, but asked about the chance of ending up somewhere Internet-related, he said, “There’s a decent chance. There really is.”

Taking his time before making a decision about his next job, Mr. Golin is trying to spend his free time. “Comes out to the fifth week of unemployment and you start doing weird things. Seeing what you’d sound like if you started every word you speak with the letter L. Teaching the alphabet to your toaster.”

Other Details staffers who only received four weeks of severance pay had to let their toasters go illiterate.

eeks before Angelina Jolie stirred the nation’s feelings about family Oscar night with her acceptance speech declaration about her brother James Haven-“I am so in love with my brother right now”-the two siblings posed lip-locked in Los Angeles.

The results were captured by Elle publication director Gilles Bensimon, who was shooting Ms. Jolie for a spread in the June issue.

Mr. Bensimon dismissed the kiss as platonic. “They’re not really kissing, it’s more like a brother and a sister,” he said.

You can judge for yourself.

With the June issue currently shipping to the printer, Mr. Bensimon was not sure if the photo would run. “I hate to steal a picture from someone,” he said. “We don’t try to use the picture in a tabloid way.” According to Mr. Bensimon, Ms. Jolie asked that her brother pose with her. Standing together, they kissed once, and Mr. Bensimon said he refrained from snapping a picture. “But at the third time they were kissing,” he said, “I take the picture.” Off The Record