When ‘Your Archive Becomes News’

By: Wayne Robins

You have to hand it to USA Weekend‘s Jack Curry. The magazine’s executive editor could have been red-faced over its April 12-14 cover story, “Speaking for the President,” which featured the smiling faces of four women in the Bush administration: Karen Hughes, Victoria Clarke, Charlotte Beers, and Mary Matalin.

On April 23, of course, Hughes resigned to go home to Texas to spend more time with her family than she could in the reputedly family-friendly White House.

But Curry saw the story, by the husband-and-wife team of Steven V. Roberts and Cokie Roberts, as an opportunity for his brand. “The best thing in the world is when your archive becomes news,” he told E&P. So USA Weekend promoted its nonscoop, calling CNN, MSNBC, and other TV chat channels, to make sure they were aware that Hughes’ most recent print interview had been with USA Weekend. “We hope reporters use our story to help them triangulate their stories,” Curry said.

But didn’t the Robertses miss something? “If you look at the level of coverage, everybody was quite surprised” by Hughes’ resignation, Curry responded. He was “not surprised something like this could be kept under wraps.” Whether Hughes’ decision was consistent or inconsistent with what was written in the magazine doesn’t matter. “I don’t have to interpret that,” Curry said. “Just make sure you spell the name of our magazine right.”

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