MADE MEN?: Does a scattershot list of gay Timesmen a mafia make? According to Out magazine’s media-heavy Power 50 list, which ranked several New York Times reporters a collective seventh on the list, it does, even if many of its made men don’t actually know each other. “Yes, there really is a queer cabal in the Eastern elite media, and it works on West 43rd Street in New York City,” reads the accompanying text, citing T magazine editor Stefano Tonchi, assistant managing editor Richard Berke, national correspondent Adam Nagourney, advertising columnist Stuart Elliot, style reporter Eric Wilson, theater critic Ben Brantley and restaurant critic Frank Bruni.
As for the use of the ‘M’ word related to the assorted journalists, Aaron Hicklin, editor of Out, told WWD: “The Times still has an old-fashioned power that I think the Web has tried to replace but been less successful at. It’s still a cultural arbiter….Should we have used the word mafia? Only inasmuch as mafia is shorthand for people whose combined weight is fearsome.” And according to Out, these Timesmen are “one group you don’t want to run into in a dark alley.”
“What are we going to do?” wondered Elliot. “Beat them with the Sunday Times?”
“It’s just nomenclature,” said Brantley dismissively. “I didn’t even know some of those men were gay.” Asked if he had since gotten in touch with his fellow mafia members, Brantley said: “Oh, God no.” — Irin Carmon
WAITING TIME: While real estate magnate Sam Zell is moving forward with his accepted offer to buy the Tribune Co., some reporters at The Los Angeles Times sit in a holding pattern, waiting for the next shoe to drop. One source in the newsroom gathered that 40 to 50 more layoffs are expected, “and people seem pretty resigned to that fact.” The source added that there is a general malaise in the newsroom, with many jaded and pessimistic reporters “acting like they just don’t trust their parents anymore.”
While the rest of the newsroom braces itself, the paper’s new, fair-haired Image section is nevertheless forging ahead. The section has added staffers and word is that three or four more hires are in the works. The section covers all things related to the ad-rich fashion crowd as well as celebrities and lifestyle. It launched March 18 at 22 pages, evenly split between ads and edit. Image will be monthly through August. In September, it will go weekly. The premiere issue had a cover story on Chloë Sevigny, covered the fall 2007 runway trends and had a story on the new generation on rising design stars, such as Jenni Kayne, in Los Angeles. — Amy Wicks
STITCHING UP: Can Martha Stewart bring the sexy back to sewing? Maybe, if she wore a bikini while stitching hems in her magazine, but at least she can be a “sewing mentor” to young stitchers looking to take up the hobby. On Tuesday, the craft goddess announced a deal with SVP Worldwide to endorse its line of Singer, Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff sewing machines as SVP attempts to align its products with Stewart’s authority in the crafting world. The partnership, expanding Stewart’s empire even further outside of publishing, also comes at a time when sewing is experiencing a comeback. According to the Home Sewing Association, there are 35 million people who sew in the country, up from 30 million in 2000.
Stewart said she has been sewing since she was seven. “I was fascinated [by sewing] because you can cut up a piece of cloth and make something beautiful.” In between filming several television shows daily, overseeing her magazines and Web sites and building a craft room at her home, Stewart said she primarily sews bedroom decor, like dust ruffles, pillows, canopies and bedding. But other projects are less appealing. “I don’t make quilts, I’m not crafty like that,” she said. Clothing is not her forte, either. “It’s less interesting to me than things for the home,” she said.
That said, Blueprint, its new women’s lifestyle title where a lot of the staffers already sew, will feature more clothing projects. “If you saw the girls who worked for me, the Blueprint girls, they all sew. They’re all making gorgeous things.” In fact, during an interview, Stewart pulled over Blueprint fashion editor Katie Hatch to model a dress she made in a day.
Not that Stewart herself doesn’t pay attention to what’s going on in fashion. A former model of some note herself, she commented on the controversy over too-skinny models on the runway. Girls featured “will always be the models who fit the clothes and the designer’s image of what a model should be,” she noted. “We’re not going to have 16-plus models anytime soon.” Nevertheless, she understands how a model’s body changes as they continue to work in the business. “I go to a lot of shows, and I see the girls,” she said. “And when you’re 13 and 14 years old, you remain very thin. I was a stick! Of course, I was a stick when I was 19, and when you get older, most people don’t stay sticks.”
Though Blueprint will feature more of the fashiony projects, the other magazines will feature more practical and not-so-practical projects, such as dog raincoats and beds. “Oh, you’ll see,” she said with wide eyes, “we have a whole crafts story on what I made for my dogs in the [September] issue.” SVP and Stewart also will create a Sewing Corner on her daytime talk show, “Martha,” to feature projects using the SVP machines.
Meanwhile, appearing in May will be a line in craft retail chain Michaels with more than 500 Martha branded products — mostly tools for scrapbooking, party decorations and organizing. There’s a line of paint, Martha Stewart Colors, rolling out in Lowe’s this spring, and branded rugs and lighting products rolling out through the summer. Then, in the fall, Macy’s will roll out a line of Martha Stewart branded home goods, from sheets, bedding and towels to bathroom accessories and kitchenware. In total, more than 1,500 products will be available staring in September in 800 Macy’s stores. Finally, Martha’s product line in Kmart will stay in stores through 2009.
So, fear of overexposure is obviously not a concern at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. — Stephanie D. Smith