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MOVIES : FACE LIFTS : The First One Out of Surgery Wins

September 15, 1991|John Lippman

Hollywood's two trade papers, Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, are both set to unveil a face lift within the next few weeks that their owners say will be the first major redesign of the papers since they began publishing in the early 1930s.

In show business, where executives read "the trades" before their first morning espresso, Variety and the Reporter vigorously compete for stories and readers, so it's not surprising that both are scrambling to be the first out of the gate with a makeover.

Robert J. Dowling, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Reporter, says that parts of the paper have already been redesigned. He promises the new look will be "modern" and "cleaner," but that the size and news hole won't change.

The Reporter has made the transition to an electronic newsroom and even distributes via satellite an edition that can be read on home computer screens every morning.

Daily Variety is just now undergoing a change to an electronic newsroom at a cost of more than $1 million. Once completed, Daily Variety editors and reporters should be able to electronically communicate with their counterparts at weekly Variety in New York.

"It will go from an old fashioned to a state-of-the-art newsroom," says Peter Bart, editorial director of Variety. Daily Variety's makeover is being done by J.C. Suarez, who redesigned weekly Variety last year.

But not all the changes are settled yet--at Daily Variety, for example, editors are still debating whether to drop the famed "bullets" that spell "Daily" in the famous green logo.

Neither paper will say exactly when it will debut its makeovers in fear of tipping off the competition. "It will be middle fall," vaguely describes Bart. "Hopefully before Thanksgiving," hints Dowling.

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