Journalists will be coming from as far away as Yugoslavia, Argentina and Korea to cover the Oscar spectacle--each is represented in the nominations--but reporters from the Washington Post, New York Post and San Francisco Examiner will be staying home.

Reason: They applied for credentials after the Feb. 27 deadline.

"I just spent a terrible week telling people they called too late," said an Oscar publicity coordinator. "It's very disturbing when you have to turn down a major outlet. People magazine just got in by the skin of its teeth."

About 400 were OKed by the credentials committee (composed of academy board members and Hollywood publicists) out of 1,000 requests ("with all due respect, some, like a Palm Beach magazine, have no real business here"). Dozens more were given "outside only" passes to cover arriving stars.

ABC got "by far the most" clearances, although a figure wasn't made available, said the badgered spokesman. "We don't necessarily play favorites (ABC airs the show). But they cover on so many programs and they get their requests in early." (Calendar has four passes.) Also badged: the National Enquirer, the Star and the Globe. For the first time, the USIA will send the glitz over foreign radio airwaves.

Inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, press rooms will be set up with nearly 250 phones, 25 computer outlets and 25 typewriters (most reporters will use note pads). Journalists will have assigned seats at 18 tables, 10 to a table. AP and UPI will have darkrooms on the premises for quickie photo processing. Rows of trucks will be outside the building for satellite transmission. Dozens of TV outlets from across the country and throughout the world will share a five-camera pool. Running about will be a "gaggle" of messengers for virtually every outlet.

A change in this year's staging room for post-win interviews: Reporters and photographers will all be equipped with wireless earphones, so the continuing Oscar telecast can be heard without interfering with the requisite Q&A; inquisition. Previously, monitors have boomed the show backstage.

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