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MEETING THE PREZ: The White House Correspondents Association’s annual dinner has long been some combination of griping (at the evident coziness between the press and the administration) and gawking (at whichever celebrity the various media organizations have managed to corral). The first such dinner in an Obama presidency, on May 9, seems guaranteed to amp up the demand for the dinner, and though some organizations are still wrangling and declined to divulge their guest lists, others have already confirmed them.
Glamour is bringing along White House Social Secretary Desirée Rogers, who is also a “special guest” at the Capitol File after party with Valerie Jarrett and dinner talent Wanda Sykes. (The first two are on the cover of Capitol File’s summer issue, set for release on the day of the dinner.) Also at Glamour’s table: Narciso Rodriguez, Alicia Keys, Kenneth Cole, Kerry Washington and the Vice President’s daughter, Ashley Biden.
This story first appeared in the April 17, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Time Inc., traditionally a major magazine presence at the dinner, will continue this year with a Friday evening cocktail co-hosted by Time and People at Astor Terrace at the St. Regis. Time said it was unready to reveal its guests, but People plans to have Sting and Trudie Styler, Miranda Cosgrove, Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy, Eva Longoria Parker, Kevin Bacon, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jon Hamm and Forest Whitaker. Sister title Fortune is striking a theme of celebrities and their finance-oriented significant others, arguably more on-brand than last year’s guests, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. At its table this year will be George Lucas and his girlfriend, Melody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, and Glenn Close and her husband David Shaw, a managing partner at Black Point Group.
Last year, President Bush wondered whether Pamela Anderson and Mitt Romney in the same room wasn’t a sign of the apocalypse. This year, President Obama might note The Atlantic’s table, which will seat both Newt Gingrich and pouty “Gossip Girl” co-star Ed Westwick. (Bonus: Obama has already made jokes about the show.) Rick Schroder will also be there. The Atlantic will also host a Friday night dinner and a pre-dinner cocktail reception at the Hilton, co-hosted by the National Journal Group and ABC.
Newsweek, Bloomberg, and Vanity Fair were unable to comment on their guests by press time, though the latter two have already said they are cohosting an after party this year instead of the separate ones they held in the past. A spokeswoman for The New York Times said the paper would again be skipping the dinner, which it stopped attending in 2007, citing the appearance of excess friendliness with the government.
— Irin Carmon
NEW AT IN STYLE: Ron Prince is the new associate publisher, marketing, at In Style magazine. Most recently, he was a marketing consultant to magazines such as Lucky, Self, Teen Vogue, Rolling Stone and Us Weekly. Formerly, he was an associate publisher at Allure, Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine. He will report to publisher Connie Anne Phillips.
— Amy Wicks
NOT QUITE AS FASHIONABLE: Speaking of The New York Times, executive editor Bill Keller rolled out details of the previously warned of budget cuts in a staff memo Thursday. In addition to cuts to freelance budgets and the elimination of the freelance-driven City and regional sections on Sundays and the Escapes section on Fridays, the Times is also axing the weekly fashion spreads in its Sunday magazine. “We will focus our fashion coverage in the T Magazines, and the Sunday and Thursday Styles sections,” Keller wrote. “The last day the weekly magazine will run a fashion spread is May 3. The Sunday magazine plans to run T supplements several times a year.” The decision may indicate the Times has been more successful in capturing fashion and luxury advertising, such as it still exists, in the friendly climes of T rather than in the main magazine. The New York Times Magazine as a whole is down 41 percent in ad pages in the first quarter, according to the Publishers’ Information Bureau. In February, T’s frequency was reduced from 15 to 13 issues.
LESS STYLE ALL AROUND: The Times isn’t the only paper trimming fashion coverage. The Houston Chronicle recently laid off style critic Clifford Pugh, who spent 15 years with the paper, during which time he launched Gloss, the Chronicle’s fashion monthly, and covered runway shows in New York, Milan and Paris. This departure comes shortly after another Hearst Newspapers title, the San Francisco Chronicle, offered fashion editor Sylvia Rubin a buyout, which she accepted. So is Hearst Newspapers scaling back its fashion and lifestyle coverage? It’s unclear. A spokesman said the company will continue to provide readers with the “best style-fashion coverage available.” He added, “This kind of content will come not just from journalists on staff, but from a wide variety of other sources, including the very rich vein provided by Hearst’s own high-quality magazines.”
— Amy Wicks
CHANGES IN WASHINGTON: In a memo to employees on Thursday, Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli informed employees about a reorganization at the newspaper that will create new reporting groups and streamline editing desks, in anticipation of the impending integration of its print and digital news operations. As of May 1, Kevin Merida, now assistant managing editor for national news will become national editor; Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, assistant managing editor for sports and weekend editor, will become local editor, and Sandy Sugawara, assistant managing editor for business, will become editor of the universal desk. A spokeswoman said the new structure is intended to streamline operations and “reflects the likelihood that some people will take the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Package. We can’t rule out further changes.” Brauchli added that there are still many gaps in the new plan, including what will happen in the Style department. He didn’t provide more details in the memo or at a town hall style meeting that was held at 2 p.m. Thursday. “Working with the new leadership team, we will come back to you with more specifics in coming weeks. We plan to move as quickly as possible to announce further details of the structure of the reporting and editing groups. Some new roles will emerge from this process, and we expect to post those jobs as well,” he said.
PERSONAL JESUS: According to sources, Dolce & Gabbana’s fall-winter men’s wear campaign will feature Madonna’s sometime boy toy Jesus Luz alongside the house’s runway and campaign staple David Gandy. The new campaign, shot in New York by Steven Klein, will also feature models Noah Mills and Adam Senn. A company spokeswoman declined to comment on the rumor.
— Emilie Marsh