MOSS TAKES ACTION: It’s no surprise Kate Moss takes preserving her image seriously, and it seems the model is willing to take legal action to protect how she’s portrayed. Moss apparently has threatened to sue Now Magazine, a U.K. weekly celebrity magazine, after it printed a story earlier this year suggesting the model was pregnant. “We can confirm that we have been contacted by Kate Moss’ legal representatives and will not be commenting further until the matter is resolved,” a spokesman for IPC, Now’s publisher, said Wednesday. A spokesman for Moss could not be reached for comment. It’s not the first time the model has taken action against pregnancy rumors — in March, London Sunday tabloid The News of the World published an apology for a February article stating that Moss was pregnant, after her lawyers began legal proceedings.
— Nina Jones
This story first appeared in the June 4, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
EVEN THE WEB GUYS DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER: What is the future of media? On an Internet Week panel sponsored by I Want Media and convened to answer that vexing question, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey offered a clue that might not hearten the journalistic faithful: He said the number-one type of search on Twitter is what he called “the vanity search” — for one’s own name or company, for example. And Bonnie Fuller said Twitter meets an “enormous need people have to be stars in their own lives,” comparing it to a tryout for a reality show.
But Gawker Media head Nick Denton admitted to surprising himself with his latest take on the media landscape: that original content is ultimately the most effective and will prevail. Gawker began, he said, when aggregation was rare, but now that curation is everywhere, the goal is to offer something new.
And it’s not all self-regard out there. Denton, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, and Wall Street Journal deputy managing editor Alan Murray all said they had come to use Twitter as an aggregation tool, following trusted sources and their links to news items. “It turns out my friends are pretty good at curating news,” said Newmark. Dorsey himself said that what Twitter is missing is “a narrative….Getting into a mass repository with no context is overwhelming.”
As for who’s going to pay for all of those news sources’ overhead, Murray argued newspapers had mistaken their most popular content for their most valuable content, citing The New York Times’ short-lived decision to charge for its star op-ed columnists. And while no one has truly figured out what readers will pay for online, Murray pointed to the example of community newspapers, which are often buoyed by exclusive local sports coverage that consumers might value enough to pay for. Moreover, while around 16 million daily readers pass through to sample the Journal’s content online, he said, there is a core of about one million who are willing to pay, which might be enough. But Denton said he would never charge for Gawker Media content, and anyway, writers hate the seclusion behind a pay wall, because, he said, “We are all egomaniacs.”
— Irin Carmon
A CEREMONIAL TOAST: It took a lot of Googling, Facebooking and old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting to track down nearly all 300 same-sex couples that have appeared in the Sunday New York Times’ wedding pages since gay ceremonies were first included in 2002. (Contact information is jettisoned after three months for privacy reasons.) But there many of them were, beaming and mingling at The Times Co.’s cocktail party Tuesday night, a Pride Month celebration.
Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. led a toast, surrounded by the first couple to appear in the pages, as well as the most recent pair. He expressed the wish that “our children and our grandchildren” see the right of gays to marry as being “as natural as the air we breathe.” Raising his glass, he said, “To marriage equality!” And then, “The bar is open!”
Sulzberger told WWD the decision to open the pages to gay couples six and a half years ago was “surprisingly not a big deal.” He recalled a lunch with then-executive editor Howell Raines and now-chief executive Janet Robinson in which Raines asked whether there would be negative business implications to the decisions; Robinson thought not.
New York Times staffers in attendance included food reporter Kim Severson, whose commitment ceremony appeared in the paper in 2006; Style editor Trip Gabriel, and style reporter Eric Wilson. The grim economic realities of the newspaper business intruded somewhat on the cheerful occasion, as the publisher of the Boston Globe, Steven Ainsley, noted from the podium that his spirit felt “lifted in a way I haven’t experienced in awhile, since these are not joyous times in the newspaper business.” The New York Times Co. has been locked in a bare-knuckle fight with the union that represents the Globe’s newsroom employees over proposed cuts in benefits and pay, and earlier this year The Times Co. threatened to shut the paper down. The most audible laugh at Ainsley’s comments — albeit a nervous one — was Sulzberger’s.
CRYSTAL CLEAR: There were no MTV cameras present at the dinner hosted by Elle magazine on Tuesday evening atop the Gramercy Park Hotel, but the second season of “The City” has already been filming inside its offices. “They actually blend in really well,” said editor in chief Robbie Myers, who was hosting a dinner for Swarovski creative director Nathalie Colin. “It’s been interesting to see who embraces it and who runs from the cameras.” Myers also mentioned that the June cover, featuring Megan Fox, is part of a new test concept for Elle. For the first time, the magazine published two different newsstand covers — one has Fox posing in a more typical look for Elle and the other has “The Transformers” actress in a more provocative pose. At the dinner, Myers and Colin were joined by creative director Joe Zee and fashion news director Anne Slowey, “Gossip Girl” stylist Eric Daman, stylists Laura Lightbody and Lori Goldstein, Museum of Modern Art curator Paola Antonelli and Horatio Silva and Karla Martinez from T: The New York Times Style Magazine.
— Amy Wicks
MULTIMEDIA: Belgian designer Kris Van Assche, who designs Dior Homme plus signature collections for women and men, has donned another hat. On Tuesday night in Paris, he unveiled a new large-format flyer-cum-magazine called Londerzeel. Part literary, part visual (and highlighting works by artist Andrea Mastrovito, for instance), Van Assche served as its art director. Barbara Polla was editor in chief and Martin Venet oversaw graphic design. Londerzeel had an initial print run of 1,000 and is expected to come out three times yearly, with distribution where Van Assche’s clothes are sold.
The current copy contains four of five Mastrovito drawings Van Assche hopes will run as advertising for his signature line in five magazines this September. “I quite like the freedom of an artist just expressing his vision,” said Van Assche. Meanwhile, the designer is also the subject of “Kris Van Assche, Mor O Muerte,” a book written in French by Polla and illustrated by Mastrovito. “It’s really like the story of someone I admire deeply and someone I love,” said Polla, adding the book doesn’t quite fit into any established literary genre. It’s published by L’Age d’Homme, and available in France and Switzerland for about $25.
— Jennifer Weil