LEAKY PHONES: Over the past few weeks, London’s tabloids have gone quiet on news surrounding Paul McCartney‘s acrimonious split with wife Heather Mills. But that all changed over the weekend when London’s Sunday Mirror published a front-page story about a bugged telephone conversation between Paul McCartney and his daughter, designer Stella McCartney, igniting a firestorm in the media. With a bright red headline that read “Maccagate,” referring to the press’ nickname for the elder McCartney, the tabloid called the conversation between father and daughter “explosive,” with Stella launching a “ferocious attack” on Mills. The paper also reported that the tape somehow made its way into Mills’ hands, and that she was “boiling with rage.” The Sunday Mirror pointed out that bugging is a criminal act in England, and that it did not believe Mills was behind the recording. It said McCartney was furious at the leak and an investigation was under way. The paper did not publish a transcript of the conversation, thought to have been recorded over the past few weeks at McCartney’s estate in East Sussex, England. However, it said Stella told her father she believed Mills had “consistently lied about her past,” and that she had “worked as a high-class hooker.” Mills has denied claims that she was ever paid for sex. Publicly, Stella has always kept quiet with regard to her stepmother, although it’s no secret she and Mills have never been the best of friends. A spokesman for Stella McCartney had no comment.
Samantha Conti

HOUSE NOT HOME FOR ZEE: Many people were surprised by a report in Friday’s New York Post that former Vitals editor in chief Joe Zee had “landed” at House & Garden. Among them was Zee himself, who, as it turns out, hasn’t landed anywhere, but continues to do projects and freelance work for several titles, House & Garden included. “I’m not working there full-time,” he explained. Zee’s contract with Condé Nast Publications covers his work for both House & Garden and W. (Condé Nast also owns WWD, and published Vitals, which it shut down last September.) And, he added, “I’m still doing my own freelance consulting and art-direction stuff,” which includes all the imaging for Justin Timberlake‘s new album.

This story first appeared in the July 10, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

There was one upside to the Post’s report, however: It let Zee know how many well-wishers he has. “I’ve gotten a million e-mails from people congratulating me,” he said.
Jeff Bercovici

NYT, JUST A “SMALL OPERATION”: Usually, finding out one’s work is being published in book form is exciting news for a reporter. But late last month, when a number of writers at The New York Times discovered that their reporting was making it into bound volumes, some of them were less than thrilled.

St. Martin’s Press is publishing “The New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything” this fall using work culled from 270 Times contributors, only a few of whom are being paid, as Joe Strupp reported in Editor & Publisher on Friday. Moreover, most of the contributors won’t even receive complimentary copies of the book.

Editorial director of book development Alex Ward, responding to complaints from writers who wanted to know which of their stories had been used, sent the following e-mail on June 28: “Contributors are listed as a group in the front of the book, not individually in the table of contents, so locating a specific name in 812 pages is extremely time-consuming and we are a small operation….As for complimentary copies, they will be given out to a number of the contributing writers who are well represented in the book.”

A spokeswoman for the Times told WWD Thursday that only 81 of the 270 contributors cited would receive a free copy. “While we are trying to work something out with the publisher so that other contributors will receive them, that has not been finalized,” she said. “We are trying to see if there is an efficient way to let people know what material of theirs was used but that has not yet been determined.”
Sara James

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