CONFLICT AVOIDANCE: Yes, that’s New York Observer media reporter Tom Scocca’s byline on a story about Hong Kong horse racing in the October issue of GQ. But no, the piece does not constitute a conflict of interest for Scocca, who covers magazines for the paper’s “Off the Record” column. “Tom Scocca’s piece, ‘Feel Like a High Roller,’ was written, edited and completed in January 2004, prior to his joining the staff of the New York Observer,” said a spokeswoman for GQ. So why did the magazine let the story gather dust for nine months before running it? “Because it was part of a big package with a lot of elements,” said the spokeswoman. “It’s the nature of magazines; sometimes stories get held for a number of months.” Scocca, meanwhile, has made a career of alternating between media and sports writing, sometimes blending the two. When asked about his fondness for using sports metaphors in his media column, Scocca said, “I caught myself going on a little binge with them in the last couple weeks. It’s a fairly common and accessible reference. If I could cook up some ballet analogies, I would.” — Sara James
PREMATURE ANTICIPATION: How revved up are the folks at Cosmopolitan about the magazine’s 40th birthday? So much that they’re letting loose with a $10 million consumer and trade ad campaign starting this month — almost a year before the actual anniversary falls next September. Of the ads, shot by photographer Roxanne Lowit, publisher Donna Lagani said, “The point was to show our readers in a celebratory, upbeat, empowering, sexy way.” The campaign will include posters on city buses, kiosks and scaffolding; a Madison Avenue billboard, and inserts that will run in The New York Times and Advertising Age, among others. In other Cosmo news, 2005 will bring two more issues of Cosmopolitan Style. The first issue of the spinoff hit newsstands in August. About 80 percent of the 1 million copies have been sold, Lagani said. — Jeff Bercovici
GET CARTER: Graydon Carter received a bit of a ribbing on “Charlie Rose” earlier this week. On Monday, talking about his new book, “What We’ve Lost,” which takes the Bush administration to task for myriad offenses, including the war in Iraq, Carter said, “I was depressed every single day” while working on the manuscript. Rose in turn held up the February 2002 issue of Vanity Fair (which, like WWD, is owned by Advance Publications Inc.), featuring a reverent Annie Leibovitz portrait of the Bush cabinet, and said, “What was this? Was it just your worship of power?” Carter explained that when the story ran, he felt the administration was doing everything right; since then, though, his opinion of the group his book calls “an administration without care for logic or truth” has obviously changed.
Earlier in the program, Rose asked Carter about taking a $100,000 consulting fee from producer Brian Grazer for recommending a film version of Sylvia Nasar’s book, “A Beautiful Mind.” Rose: “Some say you want to be a player in Hollywood.” Responded Carter, who produced the documentaries “The Kid Stays in the Picture” and “9/11”: “If you wanted to be a player in Hollywood, you wouldn’t go into the documentary filmmaking business.” — S.J.
FUNNY GIRL: Ubiquity alert: Having already infiltrated magazines and TV, Stacey Grenrock Woods is set to extend her comic persona into books. The Esquire sex columnist and “Daily Show” regular has signed with Simon & Schuster, which will publish her memoir, “I, California,” in 2006 or thereabouts. “I have to write it first,” she said. The pitch sent to publishers said the book will explore “the titillating power of Peter Frampton’s bare chest, how posing for Playboy makes you hungry and the shame you feel when a loved one unearths your old Sting T-shirt.” “I think it’s somewhat rare to be born and raised in Los Angeles,” she said. “I’m sort of like a townie.” And how has her life changed since she began writing a sex column? “I get a lot more interesting stuff in the mail. I have a lot more lube than I used to. And now I can speak with authority. I can say things like ‘No, no, please. I’m the sex columnist.’” — J.B.
STAR MAN: Harper’s Bazaar has wrangled itself a new celebrity wrangler. Duane Rocco Ashurst has been named entertainment and covers director at the Hearst-owned title. “We’re expanding coverage of celebrities, not just on the cover but within the magazine as well,” said executive editor Jenny Barnett. Ashurst, who starts Nov. 8, will take over duties from Allison Oleskey, Bazaar’s previous wrangler, who has continued to book its covers since leaving for the casting agency Starworks a year ago. Ashurst comes from British Elle, where he held several positions, most recently that of creative director. — J.B.