Newspaper giveaways are nothing new in New York, as the four dailies periodically promote home delivery, show off improvements or remind nonreaders what they're missing. But the broadsheet being handed out Tuesday at Penn Station, Rockefeller Center, subway stops and suburban train stations came on salmon-colored paper, seemed wider than the New York Times and had an offshore focus despite its commuter surroundings.
The Financial Times, based in London but distributed around the world, is trying to expand its circulation in North and South America beyond the meager 37,000 copies it now sells mainly in New York, Washington and other banking centers. Seeing that more American businesspeople have to think globally, the weekday paper is counting on a growing appetite for international news, its specialty, to help swell sales to 100,000 in North and South America over the next three or four years.
To that end, Richard Lambert, editor of the Financial Times, has stationed himself in the New York office since July to oversee an editorial expansion and a redesign of the paper's U.S. edition, which on Tuesday introduced a snappier Page 1, anchored by two columns of story summaries and other features.
"We'll seek to expand our existing coverage of Asia and Latin America," he told a New York audience. "We'll try to shape our European coverage in a way that will make sense to readers here. . . . We'll have, rather, more U.S. business news and analysis than in the past, seeking always to look at developments in their international context."
Erik Zenhausern, retail sales manager, said the paper is not going up against the Wall Street Journal in the coverage of domestic business news--"that would be suicidal."
Nevertheless, as the Financial Times exerts marketing muscle in the United States starting this week, pitching itself in advertisements as "The global daily of business," the Wall Street Journal will follow next week with its own unveiling of more international news. On Monday, the Journal will introduce four additional news columns in its A section under an "International" banner, as well as two new columns of charts and other features in the paper's "Money & Investing" section.
Expansion of the Financial Times' U.S. edition is part of a $160-million plan by Pearson plc, the British media conglomerate that also owns the Penguin Putnam book publishing giant, to increase circulation around the world. Total circulation now stands at about 300,000--one-third of that outside Britain.
The Financial Times also may be sampled online at http://www.ft.com.
A Stock Pundit in Demand:GQ ran a profile of James J. Cramer, the colorful Wall Street trader and stock chronicler, in its August issue. On Monday, GQ announced that Cramer will join the magazine in January as a writer at large, focusing on personal finance.
Cramer, 42--a partner in Cramer, Berkowitz & Co., a frequent guest on the CNBC business channel and a daily contributor to TheStreet.com, the online financial site he co-owns--has bounced around in print. A reporter with the Los Angeles Herald Examiner in the late '70s, he has written regularly in recent years for SmartMoney, New York, Worth magazine and the New York Observer, while also managing the $280 million invested with his firm.
It's believed that Time magazine is among those angling for Cramer's lively prose. Apparently there also was a discussion with the New Yorker in the spring.
Sports for Women Premieres: The word "sports" stands tallest in the logo of the new Conde Nast Sports for Women, but the focus is clearly on women in the premiere issue, on sale Tuesday. "This magazine is dedicated to the women we haven't seen in the sports pages, those who flock to the parks and fields, gyms and mountains, courts and rivers to get into the action," Editor in Chief Lucy S. Danziger writes in an introductory letter.
Don't go looking for coverage of the Women's National Basketball Assn.--that's Sports Illustrated Women / Sport's turf. Instead, Conde Nast Sports for Women, targeting readers in their 20s and 30s, opens with an amusing, tone-setting overview, "100 Years of Attitude: The jeers! The cheers! The funny outfits and sexual fallacies! A look at the cheeky, checkered past of the American sportswoman."
Still in the LBJ Business: With two volumes published and two more expected to follow, has Robert A. Caro dropped plans to finish his exhaustive biography of Lyndon B. Johnson?
Don't believe it.
Reached at his New York office, Caro laughed off a suggestion made in a TV discussion Sunday night that he had given up his Johnson project. "I've written three books in all, and each one has taken me seven years," Caro said. "So far, I've spent five years and nine months on this third Johnson book, and I just might finish short of seven years." Publication is scheduled for 1999.
"The book is mostly done and it's wonderful," said Robert Gottlieb, who edits Caro's books for the Alfred A. Knopf division of Random House. "To say he isn't continuing is absolute nonsense."
It was during a literary discussion on C-SPAN2 that Steve Wasserman, book editor of the Los Angeles Times, said he had heard from people presumably familiar with Caro's plans that the biographer may have abandoned his Johnson epic. The remark echoed widely in publishing circles.
"I stand corrected," Wasserman said when told of Caro's and Gottlieb's statements.
* Paul D. Colford is a columnist for Newsday. His e-mail address is email@example.com. His column is published Thursdays.