WILL THEY HAVE TO SHARE ROOMS?: Even if hordes of Americans decide to forgo the crowds and cold involved in attending President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration, the media head count should exceed any previous attendance, with staff from every conceivable medium descending on Washington this weekend. In the case of the glossies and the blogs, coverage will inevitably entail trawling the parties.
Of course, the media economy being what it is, few magazines seem to be cohosting events, though Vibe has bragging rights by being the official media partner of the Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball, and Essence is having a brunch to honor African-American achievement among the likes of congresswoman Barbara Lee and actress Kerry Washington. Essence editor in chief Angela Burt-Murray, deputy editor Tatsha Robertson and the magazine’s newly appointed Washington correspondent will all be in the capital.
Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive will offer style commentary for “The Today Show,” and among her team are glamour.com’s fashion blogger Tracey Lomrantz, news director Ellen Kampinsky and Washington editor Linda Kramer Jenning. Harper’s Bazaar’s Web site will have Kai Milla guest-blogging from the parties, and New York magazine is sending Jada Yuan and drawing on freelancers “covering the inauguration as a political event, as a great party, as a fashion show, and as a TV spectacle.” Town & Country is sending events editor Alexis Clark to cover parties, and Esquire’s senior Web editor Matt Sullivan will be doing a Web version of its “What Now?” feature, focusing on 50 real people to follow the 50 influentials polled in their February issue.
A spokesman for Vogue said that, while the magazine planned to cover the events from a style angle, it could not be learned what Anna Wintour or André Leon Talley — both highly visible Obama campaign supporters — were up to for Inauguration weekend. The New Yorker’s editor David Remnick will be in town, with Hendrik Hertzberg and Ryan Lizza offering coverage and Talk of the Town being turned over to an inauguration theme at the hands of Ben McGrath, Lauren Collins and Lizzie Widdicombe.
Jezebel.com will have both Choire Sicha and Virginia-based Megan Carpentier out and about at various events and balls. Anna Holmes also plans on including reader-contributed photos and tidbits on the site. “I’m not going to turn the blog over to the inauguration wholly, but it will probably be 50 percent of the blog that day,” she added. Hamilton Nolan will be in D.C. reporting for Gawker.com.
Never mind the guaranteed celebrity guests — the Obamas are already tabloid gold on their own, so Life & Style will send three reporters, and Us Weekly will also have a team. Perhaps it’s time to retire Washington’s “Hollywood for ugly people” moniker. — Irin Carmon
AD PAGES FALL HARD IN 2008: Publishers Information Bureau released its final ad page totals for magazine advertising on Tuesday and, as expected, business for 2008 was grim, with the fourth quarter reflecting the impact of the broader recession on advertising spending in print. The bureau reported that ad pages across magazines fell 11.7 percent for the year compared with 2007. The fourth quarter alone saw ad pages shrink 17.1 percent compared with the same period in 2007. And the drop off accelerated throughout 2008 — pages were off 6.4 percent in the first quarter, followed by an 8.2 percent decline in the second quarter and a 12.9 percent drop in the third. Leading the drag on ad pages was the beleaguered automotive sector, which saw a near 25 percent contraction in the number of pages in magazines this year. Home furnishings and supplies recorded an 18 percent drop, and financial, insurance and real estate reported a 17 percent fall. And once the recession fully took hold this fall, things only got worse. Financial advertising fell 37 percent for the fourth quarter, home furnishing ads fell 23 percent and auto advertising was off 26 percent. — Stephanie D. Smith