This week The Spectator hit upon the idea of casting Ed Miliband in a Wallace and Gromit front cover. Meanwhile, over at the New Statesman they hit upon the idea of casting Ed Miliband in a Wallace and Gromit front cover.
And to think, people are suggesting it's difficult to tell the right and left of British politics apart.
A press release landed in the Media Blog's inbox today informing of a new weekly digital launch from Esquire magazine which "offers frequency, usability and functionality blended with a concise edit fit for the stylish and tech-savvy".
The release tells us:
"Esquire Weekly's curated content spans the five key editorial pillars of Esquire – Style, Gear, Food & Drink, Culture and Women, and transports readers effortlessly from text and pictures, to audio and video content, and then to purchase – direct from the page."
However, the highlight of the press release was undoubtedly this quote, attributed to Group Publishing Director Amanda Turnbull:
"Esquire Weekly is a bold and exciting addition to the Esquire ecosystem and part of Hearst's ongoing commitment to future-facing innovation. There is a unique opportunity to engage with a potential audience of 1.3 million E-Squires, men who we know from our analysis are iPad owning cash rich, time poor style leaders. Esquire Weekly delivers Esquire's unique blend of style and substance in the right way, at the right time. It offers a genuinely invaluable service that will encourage readers to engage with Esquire more frequently and across every platform, and provides advertisers with a brand new way of connecting with this valuable upscale audience."
Well that's cleared that up.
If you think you might be one an iPad owning cash-rich, time-poor, style-leading E-Squires and this sounds like your sort of ecosystem then the app will be available for a 30-day free trial from Thursday 5 September and after that prices range from 99p for a single issue to £19.99 for an annual subscription.
Northern & Shell, the publisher of OK! magazine has been forced into an apology after it sparked anger with a feature about Kate Middleton's "baby weight". A spokeswoman is quoted in The Guardian saying:
"Kate is one of the great beauties of our age and OK! readers love her... We would not dream of being critical of her appearance. If that was misunderstood on our cover it was not intended."
So not much of an apology really. In fact, it's not even clear if OK! really knows why it offended so many people with its suggestion that any new mum should worry about such a thing as "baby weight", let alone make it a priority within minutes of giving birth.
TV presenter Katy Hill who heavily criticised OK! on Twitter yesterday, this evening tweeted: "They missed the point, but it's a START."
Much to the disgust of anybody who thinks harrassing new mums about their figure is cruel and unnecessary (which is surely most people), OK! magazine hit the shelves today with a front page dedicated to Kate Middleton's "post-baby weight":
Perhaps the editorial team at OK! thought it reasonable to bring this up. After all, it had been 24 hours since Kate gave birth, what was she doing still lounging around in bed? However, users on Twitter were quick to lash out at the magazine and the unnecessary pressure it was putting on new mums, with former Blue Peter presenter Katy Hill leading the charge:
Sadly this feature was only to be expected. On 14 July, this blog stated that once the royal baby arrived we should expect to see:
"...all sorts of features... from... fitness experts focused on 'how Kate can get her figure back' [to] astrologers willing to tell us what the stars hold in store for the much scrutinised infant."
And sure enough, among the first people looking to leap onto the royal baby bandwagon was stargazer Russell Grant. He issued a press release today which announced of the royal baby:
"Jupiter's positive links to Saturn and Neptune add strength to the fact that he was born to reign and Mars close to Jupiter signifies royalty and leadership."
Born to reign with indicators of royalty and leadership? It's incredible when you think Grant was able to tell all that simply from the position of the planets.
"The baby will accompany his mother on trips and tours... He will be devoted to his family and Kate's parents will have a healthy amount of contact with their new grandchild."
To be fair to Grant and his celestial insights there is no earthly way he could know that.
Want one last insight?
"This child has a strong sense of karma."
So there you go.
Having gone to the trouble of preparing a Royal Baby souvenir edition, the team over at the Sunday Express clearly had no intention of letting a little thing like the baby not being born yet stand in the way. The paper teamed its royal baby-free royal baby supplement with a news-free story about the royal baby not being born yet.
The Express isn't the only one jumping the gun. US celebrity magazine Star this week boasted about having all the details, including the baby's name and the story of Prince William's helicopter dash to the hospital. Star also claimed the delivery, which hasn't happened yet, was dramatic.
Meanwhile, the Daily Star this week roped in a budget Kate Middleton look-a-not-very-like to shift some lottery tickets for their boss Richard Desmond, along with a fifty-fifty 'exclusive' that the royal baby will be a boy which follows previous claims in the paper that the child will be a girl, so they've got their bases covered.
Not to be outdone, broadcast media have also been losing the plot. Camera crews who have been camped outside the hospital where Kate is expected to have her baby for the past week have now taken to filming each other to pass the newsless hours.
If this is the level of media coverage before the baby is even born we can safely assume there will be a full scale media meltdown when the child decides to put in an appearance.
No doubt all sorts of features are already worked up, from celebrity parenting experts' 'top tips for new mum Kate' to celebrity fitness experts focused on 'how Kate can get her figure back'. And of course there will be the astrologers willing to tell us what the stars hold in store for the much scrutinised infant. And then there will be the photos.
Following news that Pippa Middleton has been appointed contributing editor at Vanity Fair a number of people have been quick to compare her - a little unfavourably - to a previous contributing editor at the magazine, the late Christopher Hitchens.
Responding to criticism on Twitter, Vanity Fair issued this explanation of the starkly contrasting appointment of Middleton, which some dared suggest owed more to her royal connections than any demonstrable talent in the field of journalism:
So 'Hitch' was mature and perfected over many years while Pippa is a bit sickly sweet and rarely seen outside society events (and maybe has bits of cucumber in her. Or something).
To clear things up once and for all, the Media Blog has prepared this handy comparison:
The latest magazine circulation figures for the first half of 2012 do not make pretty reading. Among the worst hit are women’s lifestyle titles and lads mags.
However regular readers will be delighted to hear Private Eye goes from strength to strength. It is up nearly 10 per cent over the first six months of the year, based on a continued commitment to high quality journalism and the rich material afforded by political and media industry scandal.
But elsewhere on the magazine shelf it's looking pretty brutal. A whole host of magazines such as More!(-37.6%), Reveal (-25.1%), Love It! (-18.9%), Pick Me Up (-18.6%), Look (-16.7%), Now (-16.1%) and New! (-14.9%) are tanking. Closer (-6.3%), Best (-6%) and Chat (-6%) aren’t fairing much better.
It was bad news also for OK! which lost nearly a quarter of its readership year-on-year and Hello said goodbye to 15 per cent of its readership. Celebrity gossip mag Heat is also in a continued decline, down 11.2 per cent year-on-year.
In the world of men's magazines and lads mags things are looking bleak.
The biggest loser is arguably Nuts. Not only is the magazine down 21 per cent, that follows a £500,000 relaunch last year which was intended to be a response to a previous 20 per cent drop in reader numbers. It seems that relaunch didn't work.
Its rival title Zoo is also down 15 per cent, while FHM had a terrible year, losing 20 per cent of readers.
A sobering day at the office for the UK's magazine publishing industry.
The Radio Times has been caught not so much with its pants down, but with a commando's flies open:
"It has come to our attention that an apparently innocent photo of the Royal Marines’ 42 Commando unit – printed by Radio Times in good faith... contains the sight of one of the marines playing a prank... What we took to be the marine's finger proved, on closer inspection, to be another part of his anatomy."
The apology became the subject of a Twitter trend, but the best tweet by far came from within the ranks of the Radio Times and the account of editor Ben Preston:
A brilliant skewering here of a million different cosmetics ads and whole swathes of the lifestyle magazine industry, by US film maker Jesse Rosten (it's also not a bad advert for the industry's favourite photo editing software - though I'm sure that wasn't the point):
Jemima Khan, 8 June 2011:
"I am thrilled with the opportunity to be associate editor of the Independent and i. I am a huge fan of both papers and am very excited to be able to work with a talented team of writers and editors."
Jemima Khan, 17 October 2011:
"I am delighted to become a permanent part of the exceptional team at the New Statesman. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Independent but the challenge of a wider role at the New Statesman was too tempting."
Khan of course was hugely successful as guest editor of the New Statesman back in April this year. Her ability to attract guest contributor Hugh Grant gave the New Statesman a real scoop when his account of secretly recording a conversation with News Of The World phone hacker Paul McMullan went viral on social networks.
Now Khan just needs to follow that. No pressure then.
As if home secretary Theresa May hasn't been criticised enough for her Tory party conference speech, now rock group Primal Scream have hit out at the use of their song Rocks as she exited the stage.
But it seems it wasn't their song at all.
Primal Scream issued a statement saying:
"Primal Scream are totally disgusted that the Home Secretary Theresa May ended her speech at the Tory party conference with our song Rocks. How inappropriate... Hasn't she listened to the words?"
The last point is a good one. Why would a home secretary, with responsibility for policing in the UK, choose to walk off to a song whose lyrics include:
"Dealers keep dealing
Thieves keep thieving
Whores keep whoring
Junkies keep scoring...
...Ain't no use in praying
That's the way it's staying, baby"
But sadly it seems she didn't. The Independent reports the mix-up is due to similarities with a different song altogether - Bohemian Like You by the Dandy Wharhols - and a number of misleading Tweets which lead the Scottish rockers to react so angrily.
The Independent reports:
"The confusion appears to have begun when Labour MP Kerry McCarthy, tipped off by someone in the hall, wrote on Twitter that the Primal Scream song was used... Tipped off by journalists at the conference who had received confirmation that the offending track was played, the band's management issued the strongly-worded statement from the musicians."
Modern music eh! All sounds the same... even to the people who wrote it, it would seem.
(Update: This blog post initially referenced only Primal Scream's angry statement and not the reports that the wrong song had been played.)
Earlier this week George Osborne was awarded 'Politician Of The Year' by GQ magazine. Equally shocking - to some at least - was his acceptance speech which included a slightly clumsily delivered joke about politicians and GQ readers being different kinds of "wankers":
One of the most outspoken critics of Osborne's line in playground humour is fellow Tory Nadine Dorries. Dorries has endured a week in which she saw her badly flawed arguments and ultimately dismissed ammendment on abortion derided by peers, colleagues and the British public.
But also this week she was humiliated by her own party leader who branded her "frustrated" to the enjoyment of all sides of a clearly innuendo-loving House of Commons.
Now Dorries has belatedly attacked Osborne for his GQ acceptance speech, perhaps because it displayed the same brand of smutty humour so obviously enjoyed by Cameron.
Writing on her own blog today, Dorries proposed replacing Osborne:
"With the arrival of the 2010 intake, the Conservative backbenches are full of incredibly smart and able young men who would make an excellent job of being Chancellor... They may also bring some much needed class and statesmanship to the role. I just hope no one else was watching and the shame of having such an immature and tacky Chancellor, is all ours."
Lads mag Nuts has apparently taken a long hard look at itself ahead of a relaunch on Friday. And after careful consideration and much deliberation it has hit upon a formula of naked girls, naked girls and more naked girls (with some jokes about naked girls and a few reviews of 'boys toys', such as cars and gadgets thrown in for good measure).
The Guardian reports that publisher IPC undertook "extensive market research to see if young men's tastes have changed" before deciding to "stick to its tried and trusted formula".
Editor Dominic Smith told the Guardian:
"We found that men have so much more pressure on them these days and it is more important than ever for Nuts to be their escape, to be funny and allow them to get away from their woes for an hour."
Smith may be a man who knows a thing or two about pressure. Last year, sales of Nuts fell nearly 20 per cent and its circulation has halved over the past five years. With IPC reportedly putting a £500,000 budget behind the relaunch, those downward trends need to be halted soon and Smith is clearly hoping his dogged belief that nakeds girls can be the solution to life's problems will be shared by thousands of new and lapsed readers.
It's a dark and deeply disturbing image, underpinning some powerful and thought-provoking editorial.
But is it just me, or when coupled with the strapline flagging David Blanchflower's entirely unrelated George Osborne article along the bottom of the page, does the whole thing start to feel a little bit 'Dad's Army'.
All together now: "Who do you think you are kidding Mr Osborne..."
If you saw The Express's 'Diana at 50' front page effort last week you'd be forgiven for thinking June had more than used up its creepy Photoshop budget. But you'd have figured without Newsweek in the US, whose own jaw-dropping 'Diana at 50' cover story begins:
Want to know what Diana's Tweets might look like? Newsweek's got that covered. Look, here's what she might look like when retweeting the Dalai Lama:
(Hat tip Ben Cotterill)
There's a great front cover typo from Tails magazine (no, I hadn't either) doing the rounds on Twitter (courtesy of Lee Unkrich):