OKLA. BOMBING DOMINATES COVERS

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An April morning explosion left a scene of carnage at the Oklahoma City bombing site and tore a hole in America's consciousness. The shocking event sparked an onslaught of coverage, earning 12 points and the No. 1 Cover Story spot for May.

The bombing turned up on 11 magazine covers, almost all in newsweeklies or tabloids, with accounts of the tragedy, its aftermath, and the militia movement.

It was only the second time in a year that anything knocked the O.J. Simpson murder case out of the top spot (see stories on Pages 30 and 31); for May, the O.J. saga earned 9.5 points for second place on the strength of eight cover appearances, all in tabloids.

Cover Story is Ad Age's monthly ranking of celebrities' popularity as reflected by their appearances on the covers of more than 30 of the nation's leading publications.

Tying for the No. 3 spot were pop diva Whitney Houston and starlet Drew Barrymore, each earning 6 points. Ms. Houston popped up on four covers, including Redbook, while the youngest member of the Barrymore acting dynasty graced the covers of Interview and US.

There was another tie for fifth place, with Sandra Bullock acting as cover girl on US and Entertainment Weekly to earn 4.5 points. In the wake of their made-for-TV movie biography, Wynonna, Naomi and Ashley Judd popped up on four covers to match Ms. Bullock's performance.

And there was a four-way tie for seventh place with Shirley MacLaine, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis and Kathie Lee Gifford earning 4 points each.

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