COVERING BIN LADEN: Osama bin Laden is getting the giant red X treatment on the next cover of Time magazine. The former Al Qaeda leader is only the fourth person in the magazine’s history to appear on the cover in this manner, following Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The new issue, the third that Time has published in a week, had editors pulling an all-nighter to push its newsstand date to Thursday. Time is increasing its print run for the 68-page issue, with pieces from Fareed Zakaria, Joe Klein, David Von Drehle, Peter Bergen and others.
The New York Times Magazine doesn’t plan to run anything in print about the killing of bin Laden, but editors will post an online-only story about his presence in the weekly over the years. The forthcoming issue will have a story about Tina Brown, written by Peter Stevenson. In the U.S., the Times published an extra 165,000 copies at newsstand on Monday and, today, a special section will run inside the paper. The Wall Street Journal will run extra copies in select markets today, but no figures were released.
The New Yorker isn’t ready to talk about its next issue, but readers can probably expect four or five of the title’s top writers on the subject, including Dexter Filkins, Steve Coll, Lawrence Wright, Jon Lee Anderson and perhaps David Remnick to have contributions. A Newsweek spokesman didn’t comment on the upcoming issue, but said it will be on newsstands Friday.
— Amy Wicks
ROYAL GAIN: Speaking of bin Laden, much of the American media has moved on from the British royal wedding, but not People magazine. The weekly released a special issue on Monday (four days ahead of schedule) that has 102 ad pages, which is the most advertising to run in the magazine since 2007. Newsstands also are expecting heavy demand for the issue, as the title’s retail and wholesale partners have requested more than 15,000 custom royal wedding display bins nationwide. Meanwhile, Time moved up its publication schedule this week to release a special royal wedding edition on Monday (instead of the usual sale date of Friday). The special issue costs $5.99, an increase of $1 over the usual newsstand price.
CONTENT AND COMMERCE: As e-commerce sites continue to back their way into the content business, the Gilt Groupe has hired Ben Widdicombe, the founder of the New York Daily News’ “Gatecrasher” gossip column and former TMZ executive editor, as editor in chief of Unlisted, a new editorial companion to Gilt City, the company’s lifestyle and travel e-shop.
Gilt City president Nathan Richardson hired Widdicombe, who was working on AOL’s Stylist blog until the company eliminated all freelancers following the Huffington Post acquisition, over drinks at the Soho House on April 22. He started from scratch, putting Unlisted together on April 25 — the site didn’t have a name — and a beta version went live April 27. “One of the nice things about working at an environment like Gilt is you don’t think about it, you just do it,” Widdicombe said. Programmers at Gilt are putting the finishing touches on the site, which will launch officially on Wednesday at cityunlisted.com.
Working out of offices on the fifth floor of One Madison, Widdicombe will have a team of six, including two photo editors and a copy editor, and a network of freelancers at his disposal. He said that, aside from a daily sponsored post, the site will be editorially independent. “It’s designed primarily to be a city guide that shows off the best of New York,” Widdicombe said. “We won’t be running negative reviews of anything,” he added, “whether or not it’s related to Gilt.”
— Zeke Turner