20 Questions

Acknowledging that committing predictions to print is usually foolish, Press Clips offers its first year-end media quiz. No more than one letter per question may be chosen; all correct answers will score a point, even if there is more than one correct answer per question. Anyone who ends up with more points than me will receive a Voice T-shirt (if we're still making them) and a mention in next year's column; entries must be received no later than noon on January 8, 1998. Mail them to me at 36 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003; fax them to my attention at 212-475-8944; or e-mail them to jledbet@echonyc.com. All subjective decisions will be made by a panel of Press Clips judges.

1. The top editor who will lose his or her job in 1998 will be (a) New York magazine's Caroline Miller; (b) Esquire's David Granger; (c) the Daily News's Debby Krenek; (d) all of the above; (e) none of the above.

2. George Pataki will receive the general-election endorsement of (a) the Daily News; (b) the New York Post; (c) The New York Times; (d) all of the above; (e) a and b only.

3. The big magazine surprise of the year will be that (a) George will fold; (b) Details will get credit for being hip again; (c) Spy will get credit for being funny again; (d) POV will be taken seriously.

4. At The New York Times (a) Abe Rosenthal will finally retire; (b) Elizabeth Kolbert's Metro columns, once irrelevant, will continue to improve; (c) the Washington bureau will swipe an important hire away from a major publication; (d) b and c; (e) none of the above.

5. Which media conglomerate will be the first in 1998 to sever its book-publishing arm? (a) Viacom sells Simon & Schuster; (b) Hearst sells William Morrow; (c) News Corporation sells HarperCollins; (d) Time Warner sells Warner Books--Little, Brown.

6. A media lawsuit that will captivate insiders but receive very little coverage will involve (a) Barbara Walters; (b) PR giant Howard Rubenstein Associates; (c) New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.; (d) New Yorker editor Tina Brown.

7. Which reshuffling will take place in 1998? (a) John Podhoretz will lose his recently acquired New York Post editorial-page editor gig and take a less visible position within the Murdoch empire; (b) Hanna Rosin will leave The New Republic to become a full-time staff writer at New York; (c) James Fallows will step down from editing U.S. News & World Report and take over the Atlantic Monthly upon the retirement of veteran editor William Whitworth; (d) Charles Peters will give up editing The Washington Monthly, to be replaced by Mickey Kaus; (e) none of the above.

8. Slate has announced that it will begin charging its Web readers; by the end of 1998 Slate's paid readership will be (a) 30,000; (b) 50,000; (c) 100,000; (d) more than 100,000; (e) zero--they'll delay the charge just like last time.

9. Contrarian Department: Which seemingly improbable scenario will occur in 1998? (a) the New York Post will editorialize in favor of Paula Jones dropping her lawsuit against President Clinton; (b) Mark Willes will be hailed as a publishing mensch as the Los Angeles Times makes substantial gains among Latino readers; (c) The New Republic will write a critical editorial against Al Gore; (d) Conde Nast/Advance Publications will announce it is going public; (e) The New York Observer will hire a black staff columnist.

10. A Pulitzer prize will go to (a) The New York Times for coverage of the unfolding Gulf War Syndrome cover-up, a year late and with a nod toward the Birmingham News; (b) The Village Voice; (c) The Philadelphia Inquirer's 30-part series following up Western engagement in Somalia; (d) The Wall Street Journal, for coverage of the Columbia/HCA scandal; (e) none of the above.

11. The surprise advertising development in 1998 will be (a) a wholesale demand for reductions in Web rates, based on a survey that will find most Webheads ignore advertising; (b) billboard companies' aggressive pursuit of untraditional outdoor advertisers, to make up for lost tobacco ad revenues; (c) following the soon-to-be-announced cancellation of CNN's Capital Gang Sunday, a major shakeup in the sponsorship of Sunday morning gabshows, due to plummeting ratings; (d) b and c.

12. At The New Yorker in 1998 (a) Elton John will guest-edit a special issue; (b) Joe Klein will slink away, having run up significant expenses but contributed nothing consequential; (c) Seymour Hersh will rejoin the ranks, having generated Tina-level buzz with The Dark Side of Camelot; (d) The New Republic's Hanna Rosin will be hired as a Capitol Hill correspondent.

13. A network news program will announce the retirement of a major onscreen talent (a) Dateline NBC; (b) ABC's 20/20; (c) The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer; (d) 60 Minutes.

14. Which women's mag will experience the greatest editorial staff turnover? (a) Harper's Bazaar; (b) Vogue; (c) Glamour; (d) Allure; (e) Teen.

15. The book that will have media people twittering the most will be (a) Gail Collins's The Scorpion Tongues; (b) L.J. Davis's expose about John Malone and HDTV; (c) the book version of Dark Alliance, Gary Webb's crack--CIA story; (d) Carol Felsenthal's unauthorized The Newhouse Empire.

16. Which media stock will experience a drop of 25 per cent or more during 1998? (a) Barnes & Noble; (b) Dow Jones; (c) America Online; (d) Times Mirror; (e) all of the above.

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