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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

the price of gas impacts celebrity news

Oh noes! People magazine has to change its production schedule because the companies that drive the trucks that deliver the final printed magazines to stores and newsstands are cutting back on their schedules, in an effort to save gas.

The New York Post explains:

People magazine, under pressure from wholesalers, is moving its deadlines up by 12 hours to noon every Tuesday.

Before the change, reporters and editors had a final deadline of around midnight with the magazine going to the printer early Wednesday morning, and reaching the supermarket checkout stands and other retailers by Friday.

All the major competitors in the celebrity weekly category – from Us Weekly to the Bauer titles In Touch and Life & Style – go to press on Monday.

The late deadline occasionally gave People a huge advantage. When actor Heath Ledger died on a Tuesday, Jan. 22, People was the only celebrity weekly with the news on the cover of the issue that hit newsstands on Jan. 25 (the issue had a Feb. 4 cover date). The issue sold 1.8 million copies, nearly 400,000 above its average weekly sales.

People was also the first newsweekly on the newsstands with coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – which also happened on a Tuesday. People’s editors ripped up their entire issue and put the burning Twin Towers on the cover, selling 4 million copies – still a record.

One distribution source said that the skyrocketing price of gasoline means wholesalers who in the past might have made two or three deliveries now want to make one or two deliveries.

What this will mean for us mere proles is obvious: we will have to continue to rely on the Internet for celebrity gossip. Because we all know that the Internet doesn’t need gas to run, because all us bloggers are sitting at home still in our pajamas at 3 in the afternoon, never having left the house at all since last weekend.

Actually, I have been out today… to pick up the rental car I will drive down to Baltimore for Balticon on Friday. (Usually I just pick up the rental car on the day I’m leaving, but it turned out I would be into the weekly rate anyway for the duration of this rental, so I figured: Woo hoo! I can go to the supermarket and buy bulk toilet paper!) And the sticker shock when I filled up that rental near gave me a heart attack: $4.09 a gallon, $63.01 to fill up the tank — which still had a quarter of a tank in it. And on top of that is the liberal embarrassment of being seen driving an SUV: all the rental place had left was a Jeep Liberty. It’s not an Escalade, which I would shoot myself rather than been seen in, but it’s not a Ford Fusion, either. So, you know, I’m feeling People magazine’s pain today…

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