A NEW NAOMI?: Naomi Campbell has kicked off the New Year by making peace with some of her old enemies. On Tuesday, the model pleaded guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court to hitting her former maid with a cell phone and was sentenced to five days of community service, participation in a two-day anger management class and the payment of $363 to cover the former maid’s hospital bill. The plea bargain enabled Campbell, who was wearing a black Rachel Roy dress in court, to avoid jail time.
And another of the many accusations of assault that have dogged the model in recent years has been resolved. The U.K.’s Mail on Sunday said Campbell had paid actress Yvonne Scio almost $400,000 to settle the dispute out of court. In 2005, Scio accused Campbell of attacking her in Rome. Campbell’s spokeswoman declined to comment on the terms of the settlement, but confirmed, “The dispute has been settled, and the complaint has been withdrawn.”
But those aren’t the only hatchets the model has buried. Campbell has taken on a new gig as a celebrity interviewer at British GQ. She apparently impressed editors when she was quizzed for GQ’s April issue by her old nemesis, Piers Morgan, former editor of the Daily Mirror and now a columnist for the magazine. In 2004, Morgan’s paper was forced to pay $1.7 million in legal fees to the model after London’s High Court ruled the Mirror had invaded Campbell’s privacy by publishing shots of her attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Campbell now has her own chance to grill celebs, and her occasional column will appear beginning in May or June, a Condé Nast Publications spokeswoman said.
— Nina Jones
TWO NUMBER ONES: When The New York Times issued a press release proclaiming its magazines had topped People and the rest of the magazine industry in total ad pages last year, a casual reader could be forgiven for seeing a major coup. After all, People was number one in total pages in 2005. Was the Times’ gambit of seizing glossy advertising in new, softer sections to make up for lost newspaper advertising revenue actually paying off?
Not so fast. Told of the ranking, which put People at number two, People’s publisher, Paul Caine, argued it compared apples and oranges, since the Times’ magazines are officially considered part of the Sunday magazine category and aren’t sold on their own. “Lots of magazines have a lot of ad pages — controlled circulation magazines, for example, or in-flight magazines. I saw one for truck drivers that was superthick.” (Incidentally, some Times folks have taken to calling the ad-driven T supplement and its offspring “the in-flight magazine of the Times.”) Caine added, “The phone book probably sells more ads than us, but PIB [Publishers Information Bureau] makes a distinction for a reason.” People’s ad pages were down 2.9 percent in 2006 compared with 2005, to 3,741.18. A spokesman for the Times defended the list, saying it had compiled the ranking for several years without complaint.
The Times’ ranking also didn’t mention that People’s PIB-reported ad revenue of $872.7 million, up 2.6 percent from last year, is twice that of the PIB-estimated New York Times magazine’s $427.1 million. In fact, within the Sunday magazine category, Parade and USA Weekend significantly outpaced the Times’ magazine in PIB-reported revenue, if not in pages.
The Times’ magazine’s growth of 181 ad pages over 2005 also reflects the launch of two supplements, the sports magazine Play and the real estate magazine Key, which joined the weekly news-oriented magazine and the various T sections. By October, according to a third-quarter Times Co. earnings call, Play and Key had brought in about $7 million, even as The New York Times Media Group as a whole saw a 4 percent decline in ad revenue in that quarter, attributed to drops in studio entertainment and help wanted advertising.
T: Beauty and Key will both increase frequency in 2007 to two issues a year, a further sign the Times is holding firm to its strategy of chasing after sectors such as fashion and real estate advertising. Or, as executive editor Bill Keller put it in a staff meeting late in 2005, as reported in the public editor’s column: “Well, the reason why we’re inventing these sections, I think, is obvious: They generate the revenues that help subsidize the stuff that drew most of us into the business.”
— Irin Carmon
THE POWER OF OPRAH: The publicity, and, of course, sales that can result from having a product featured in O, The Oprah Magazine are fairly known, so is there any harm in writing a book that helps others break in? Susan Harrow, the chief executive officer of PRsecrets.com, recently released a 136-page e-book, “Get Into O Magazine: Ten Steps to getting you, your book, products, service, or cause featured in Oprah’s magazine.” Harrow appears to have a background in — or obsession with — all things Oprah, as she previously wrote a book about how to get booked on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and she teaches workshops on the topic at The Learning Annex.
The author said it can take up to two years to go from product pitch to landing in the pages of O. She obtained a good portion of the book’s information from publicists and people who already cracked the magazine. “From what I’ve heard, the editors review pitches, but Oprah and Gayle [King, editor at large] get the final say on what gets in the magazine,” she said. She called the title to let it know she was writing the book, but never received a phone call in return.
Not that the magazine is pleased with Harrow’s tome. An O spokeswoman said those involved with the magazine are troubled that someone is trading on its name to profit from “what is essentially false information.” “Every item featured in the magazine is carefully vetted and selected by O editors,” said the spokeswoman. “There are no secret tricks or techniques to securing placement in O, The Oprah Magazine.”
Indeed, Harrow’s book details such relatively commonsensical topics as “Know how an editor wants to be contacted,” (presumably not by surprising them at their desks) and “understand price points and what attracts O readers” (available in any media kit breakdown of O’s readership or simply by reading the magazine). And Harrow’s research comes at the eyebrow-raising price of $197 — steep when a year’s subscription to the magazine can be had for a mere $18. The response from her first Oprah book has been positive, she claimed, as its readers have successfully set up interviews with the show’s producers — and some have even landed on the show. But the complaint from other readers is that, while the book successfully got them in the door, it didn’t tell them what to say in the interview. And given the O staff’s displeasure at Harrow’s book, it might not be wise to mention it when mailing in a product.
— Amy Wicks