By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
The New York team includes Tim Golden, Diana B. Henriques, Judith Miller, and Moss, with help from Josh Barbanel and Ford Fessenden, who specialize in computer-assisted reporting. It does not include national investigative reporter Douglas Frantz, who has just been reassigned to Istanbul. Frantz's successor, as yet unhired, will report to national editor Dean Baquet.
Before taking USweekly last month, Jann Wenner boasted to a reporter that "failure is not an option" for the new celebrity mag into which he has sunk $50 million. But he has yet to smell success. Last week, amid news that the People-wannabe is selling poorly, staff continued bailing out. Departures since the end of January include three researchers, three assistant editors, and one editorial assistant.
Why the mini-exodus? According to one insider, the office is a disorganized "well of negativity" where staffers are regularly asked to stay late, sometimes until 1 a.m. It's one thing to ask 60-hour weeks of senior staff, but quite another when the slave is paid $30,000 a year. Other resignations include senior reviews editor Andrew Essex and systems staffer Peter Walker. Essex, a former Entertainment Weeklyreporter, has been hired to edit the Salon Business section, which debuts May 1.
US editors need to speed up the copy flow and stop obsessing over every detail, says the insider. Instead, "they're doing a weekly with the mentality, approach, and sense of urgency of a monthly." And apparently, some of these gripes have hit home. At a meeting last week, Wenner and general manager Kent Brownridge reportedly told staff, "We have to change the culture" of the magazine.
A spokeswoman for US Weekly deemed the departures "natural attrition" for a start-up and said the mag is settling into a "steadier groove."