FAITH NO MORE: Seventeen garnered a heap of favorable press for its addition, in September 2004, of a section dedicated exclusively to matters of faith. But perhaps the media was more smitten with the concept than were the magazine’s readers, because the section vanished several months ago. Editor in chief Atoosa Rubenstein said Seventeen will continue to cover religion and spirituality on a regular basis, just not in its own department. “I like to work in a very fluid way — it’s what helps us best connect with our reader, who is also very fluid in terms of her media consumption,” she said in an e-mail. And, indeed, Seventeen ran a story in November on strengthening relationships through belief, and a selection of inspirational quotes in December. January’s issue, however, is faith-free — although it does boast 15 pages of weight-loss tips and a two-page promotion for “Miss Seventeen,” Rubenstein’s MTV show.
— Jeff Bercovici
FEDER-LINEBACKERS: A petite reporter freelancing for The New York Times recently had an upsetting run-in with Kevin Federline‘s security guards in Las Vegas.
Liza Ghorbani, who occasionally writes for the Times as well as for Vogue and Teen Vogue, was in Vegas working on a story for “Sunday Styles” about the club Tao. According to a friend who witnessed the incident, when Federline and his entourage arrived, Ghorbani approached him, identified herself as a reporter and asked him a few “harmless” questions about Tao.
Initially, Britney Spears‘ husband seemed OK with doing an interview. He spoke with Ghorbani, comparing Tao with Manhattan nightclub Marquee. But once their conversation was over and Ghorbani pulled out a tape recorder to dictate notes to herself for her piece, Federline suddenly and inexplicably yelled to his security detail, “She’s got a tape recorder!” and sicced them on her.
Imagine that: a reporter with a tape recorder.
Several of Federline’s guards dove on her and attempted to confiscate the device. Said her friend: “Here’s this tiny girl, and these beefy guys are wrestling with her. It was crazy.” Not to mention illegal. The slight Ghorbani evidently fended them off until club owner Jason Strauss arrived to mediate. As for her tape recorder, her friend said, “she left with it intact.” When called, Ghorbani confirmed the story, but declined to comment.
This story first appeared in the December 19, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
One might think Federline would be pleased to see a reporter taping her interviews after his recent run-in with In Touch. In its current issue, the magazine quotes Federline making remarks such as: “Ask me now about my life apart from Britney, and all I can say is: Can it be any worse than living with her?” Federline’s spokeswoman insists he never said any such thing to the reporter, an employee of a European news agency who caught up with him late at night in a casino. A spokesman for In Touch, which purchased the quotes from the agency, said the reporter did not, alas, capture the encounter on tape.
— Sara James and J.B.
HATCHER’S LIBEL WIN: “Desperate Housewives” star Teri Hatcher was awarded what are reported to be substantial libel damages from the U.K. tabloid The Daily Sport on Friday, after London’s High Court found the paper had published false allegations about Hatcher’s sex life.
The newspaper had alleged in a July 25 story entitled “Teri’s Passion Wagon,” that Hatcher had regularly romped with a series of men in a camper van parked outside her home. The Sport then repeated the allegations in a story published Aug. 3.
The Sport’s lawyer, David Hirst, was reported to have told London’s High Court the paper accepted the article was “entirely false,” and said it apologized to Hatcher “for the distress and embarrassment caused by the defamatory articles.” A spokesman for The Sport, published by Sport Newspapers Ltd., declined to comment on the verdict.
Hatcher, mother of a seven-year-old daughter, said in a statement after the verdict that, while she had tolerated “many ridiculous and fabricated lies and gossip in the tabloids,” she drew the line at stories that insinuated she was an irresponsible and neglectful parent.
— Nina Jones
SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME: Shape’s eastward migration continues. Four more staffers in the magazine’s Woodland Hills, Calif., bureau were let go last week, including managing editor Susanne Stoeckeler. Jeanne Ricci, who had been freelancing for Shape in New York, has been named the new managing editor. Editor in chief Valerie Latona (who replaced California-based predecessor Anne Russell) said there will be no more relocation of jobs: “This is where it ends.”
Meanwhile, at Shape’s sibling title, Muscle & Fitness, editor in chief Jeff O’Connell and creative director Heidi Volpe have left. Peter McGough, editorial director of both Muscle & Fitness and Flex, will take over for O’Connell, and a new editor will be hired for Flex.