American Mass-Market Magazines

By Alan Nourie; Barbara Nourie | Go to book overview

U

UNITED STATES MAGAZINE. See DEMOCRATIC REVIEW

UNITED STATES REVIEW. See DEMOCRATIC REVIEW


US

Us, a mass-circulation celebrity periodical, was founded in 1977 by the New York Times Company. The magazine was lightweight stuff for the New York Times, but Arthur Ochs Sulzberger convinced the Times board that Us would be a quick money-maker. Designed to compete with Time's very successful People,* it was first edited by William H. Davis. The first issue had a printing of 750,000 copies. Unfortunately, the Times ran the operation on a shoestring budget with little expenditure for advertising. Also, its fortnightly publication could not keep pace with the weekly gossip. For its first several years the periodical sputtered along at a loss with editors that "came and went almost as often as Billy Martin." 1 Finally, in January of 1980Us made its first profit and was sold soon thereafter to Peter J. Callahan, president of Macfadden Holdings, publishers of True Confessions and Photoplay. 2

Under the guidance of Richard Kaplan as editor and Garey T. Symington as publisher, Us circulation climbed to 1.1 million in 1983. Kaplan proclaimed that Us intended to supplant People as "the most popular magazine of America's Pop culture." Symington stated, "We are going to make a lot of money and we're going to treat advertisers right." Advertisers' ads always faced editorial matter, and there were no "bleed" premiums for four-color ads that ran into the fold. Despite these developments, Us was still regarded as a "bargain- basement version of People journalism." 3

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