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APOCALYPSE LATER: President Bush best summed up the peculiar juxtaposition of celebrities, reporters and political officials at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday night: “Pamela Anderson and Mitt Romney in the same room?” Bush said during his speech. “Isn’t that one of the signs of the apocalypse?” Clearly not, but the random mix of celebrities included everyone from Anderson, Martha Stewart, The Jonas Brothers and Rob Lowe to pols such as former secretary of state Colin Powell, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former Clinton campaign consultant Mark Penn.
But the most fashionable name in attendance was Donatella Versace, who joined Time Style & Design at the event along with her friend Rupert Everett.
This story first appeared in the April 28, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Before dinner, Versace took in the scene at the Time People/CNN party, and met Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain, who attended the dinner with People magazine and planned to write about the event on her blog, McCainbloggette.com. “She’s got a great smile and good energy,” Versace said of the younger McCain.
After the dinner, the designer joined Time Style & Design editor Kate Betts, Time managing editor Rick Stengel and Washington bureau chief Jay Carney at the Bloomberg after party at the Costa Rican Embassy. Of the celebrities and Washington socials that packed the space, “I would like to meet Madeleine Albright,” Versace said, adding that, believe it or not, Albright was one politician she’d like to dress. “She’s such a beautiful person,” Versace said of the indomitable former secretary of state. “I love her.”
Attendees at the Correspondents’ Dinner also hopped to gatherings at the apartment of Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens, and to Capitol File’s party at the Newseum, hosted by Craig Ferguson, who was the entertainer at the dinner this year, and Rosario Dawson. — Stephanie D. Smith
FRIENDS AND FOES: The Overseas Press Club Awards have always been about recognizing the exercise of press freedoms abroad under duress, but Thursday night’s awards dinner had undertones of journalistic anxiety here at home. To begin with, ousted Wall Street Journal managing editor Marcus Brauchli was at the paper’s table, sitting next to his former boss, Paul Steiger, who retired as managing editor of the Journal a year ago and was set to give the evening’s keynote. Across the table was Robert Thomson, Brauchli’s old friend from their Asia days, who’s the News Corp.-appointed overseer calling the shots at the Journal these days.
All three declined comment on recent turmoil at the paper but seemed relatively at ease. Steiger, now head of the new investigative organization Pro Publica, focused his speech on the state of international reporting, but didn’t miss the opportunity to honor his chosen successor. Mentioning his 16 years heading the Journal, he praised his former colleagues but named just one — Brauchli — to audience applause. And one of the Journal reporters accepting an award for reporting on the Indian economy pointedly referred to a tradition at the paper “that has enabled great journalism in the past and, it is hoped, in the future.”
Rupert Murdoch wasn’t the only press baron whose presence was felt, however. Bob Drogin, a national security and intelligence reporter for the Los Angeles Times who was honored for his book “Curveball,” recalled advice he got about appearing on “The Colbert Report.” Treat him as you would a drunk at a bar, Drogin said, avoiding a fight and trying to have fun. “I think about that advice a lot at the L.A. Times,” he said, where new Tribune owner Sam Zell “reminds me of Stephen Colbert’s character, except he’s not trying to be funny.” He mourned “the scaling back of a world-class institution,” and said, “Instead of covering a disaster, we’re in danger of becoming one.” — Irin Carmon
PARTNER IN COPY: Maxim editorial director James Kaminsky brought back his number two from Playboy and Maxim — the first time he edited the title — to be the managing editor at Maxim yet again. Lisa Grace joins the magazine from Best Life, where she had been managing editor since 2006. Prior to Best Life, Grace helped launch Quick & Simple, which Hearst Magazines introduced in 2005. Kaminsky also promoted another loyal lieutenant at Maxim: David Swanson was upped to features editor from senior editor. Kaminsky brought Swanson from Rolling Stone to Men’s Journal when he edited the Wenner Media men’s title. When Kaminsky left Men’s Journal last August to helm Maxim, he brought in Swanson shortly afterward. — S.D.S.
ELLE RAISER: Though Elle and former fashion director Nina Garcia have not yet settled on the terms of their future working relationship (nor her relationship to “Project Runway,” since Elle is contracted to the show through season five), the magazine elevated several staffers, including Garcia’s old assistants, to fill the gap. First, Kate Lanphear, senior style and market editor who is said to be a possible successor for Garcia, has been promoted to style director. Joann Pailey, formerly senior fashion market editor, was promoted to market director. Also, Jade Frampton was elevated to a market editor and Malina Joseph has been named fashion bookings editor. A replacement for Garcia, who was fired from her position earlier this month, has not yet been appointed.
Meanwhile, three other staffers have followed Garcia out of Elle: Bookings editor Claudine Ingeneri, market editor Helane Crowell and deputy art director Florence Sicard have all recently left the magazine. — S.D.S.
REAL TIME REPORTING: Vanity Fair editor in chief Graydon Carter wants to revamp the magazine’s Web site to make it “a fun, funny, spunkier version of the magazine.” His plan is being carried out with several additions. Vanityfair.com will include regular weekly postings of events and increase its coverage of A-list diners at the Waverly Inn to a few times a month on the restaurant’s un-bylined blog. The site also will include more pithy quotes and pictures of socials in party dresses in weekly postings of parties and events. In fact, two stealth reporters — Adam Klappholz, who is assistant to managing editor Chris Garrett, and associate online editor Jessica Flint — were recently seen working the red carpet and picking up tips on covering a party from other social reporters at a Belvedere Vodka event.
But two junior reporters can’t revamp the site all by themselves. Senior articles editor Michael Hogan has been named executive online editor to oversee the site. Hogan was also the executive editor on Condé Nast’s new spinoff “Movies Rock,” which was delivered as a supplement to Vanity Fair’s December issue. Also, Hamish Robertson, most recently a multimedia consultant at GQ, has been named online design editor, and Flint was recently promoted to her online job from editorial associate at the magazine. The site has also added guest bloggers including Cindy Crawford, who opines about green issues; Jamie Johnson; Rebecca Guinness, and David Roberts. — S.D.S