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From across the pond: A magazine that covers everything

By Kim Campbell / April 12, 2001



On Media

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When a magazine boasts that it contains "All you need to know about everything that matters" you might naturally assume it is a product of The New York Times.

But The Week - which debuts in the US tomorrow - is in fact from Dennis Publishing, a British company that is also responsible for racy, men's magazine Maxim.

The Week is nothing like its slick sibling, but instead aims to be a cleverly written digest of news items culled from magazines, newspapers, and the Internet.

The editor in chief of the US edition says that aside from being published weekly and covering the news, it will have little in common with magazines like Time and Newsweek.

"We're really a very different publication,"

says William Falk, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former editor and reporter for Newsday and Gannett. "The whole idea is that you get a real range of opinions on matters from the standoff in China to the film 'Blow.' "

Another big difference: No long cover stories on the Human Genome Project or "The Sopranos." With a few exceptions, typical items in The Week will range from several paragraphs to 450 words -just enough to convey the basics to busy people.

It's the same format used in the six-year-old British version, which has grown to a circulation of 75,000, outpacing other British magazines and attracting followers who say they are "addicted," says Falk.

Only six of The Week's 40 pages have ads, so the focus can be on the text, Falk says. It will be up to subscribers to pick up most of the tab, with a subscription rate of $75.

The Week, published Fridays, will be on select newsstands and some material will be on the Web (www.theweek.ws in the US -though currently that link goes to Maxim's site -and www.theweek.co.uk in Britain).

Small towns only, please

Daniel Hammond was on to something when he decided that small-town America needed its own magazine.

The publisher of American Profile -a folksy newspaper insert similar to USA Weekend or Parade -celebrates its one-year anniversary this month, and last week rolled out its fifth and final regional edition for Western states. The original idea was to introduce a new edition every six months, "but the demand was so strong, we're two years ahead of plan," says Mr. Hammond.

American Profile was the second largest magazine launch next to Oprah's "O" last year and now has a circulation of more than 3 million. It serves small-town papers (more than 600 of them, mostly in communities of 30,000 or less) and only reports what Hammond calls "good news."

"We try to find ... stories that represent the quality of life and the moral structure that many of our readers adhere to," he says.

Controversial topics like politics and religion are off-limits in the magazine, where features on home town architecture and Egg Nog Custard are more common.

Hammond says his market quickly attracted national advertisers, hungry for a way to reach 38 million rural households. "This group represents $305 billion in annual purchasing power," he explains. Hardly small town.

A room full of views

Journalists from across the US were in Washington last week for the annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. On the agenda were issues ranging from how to better serve readers to a decrease in minority reporters for the first time since 1978. Women members also met to honor the late Katherine Fanning, a former Monitor editor and the first woman president of ASNE.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor