The Buzz

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POLAR OPPOSITES. At last week's American Magazine Conference, star editors trotted to the podium to do quick presentations on their philosophies on selling magazines via their covers. In a delightful high/low cultural collision, Cullen Murphy, top editor of the relentlessly high-minded The Atlantic did his spiel on the same morning as The Star's Bonnie Fuller. This, of course, pits the ultra-intellectual-per Murphy, "a magazine no one today would invent"-against the ultra-ephemeral. But let's go to the editors themselves. The Buzz assigns A (for Atlantic) to Mr. Murphy, and B (for Bonnie) for Ms. Fuller. Now guess who said what:

"Kirstie Alley: Big girl. Big story."

"After a few decades, we thought it might be a good idea to use the cover to tell readers what's actually inside the magazine."

"Sculpt. Radiate. Perfect."

"The `point of the lance' on the cover has to be the Big Story on subjects unique and urgent."

"If you simply put a celebrity on the cover with PR-scrubbed news, readers are going to ignore you."

"At least for some audiences, Donald Rumsfeld is as good as Britney Spears."

Answers-surprise!-B,A,B,A,B,A. But what of Ms. Fuller's concluding credo-"It's not possible to overdose on hope or celebrity"? Well, The Buzz believes she's half-right.

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