2013 February 22
The Wakeford Files
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(NEW YORK) Do you love your job so much you’d reverse commute to New Jersey? Dashing Dan Wakeford does. As the editor of both Life & Style and In Touch, he braves the Holland Tunnel every morning just to bring you the latest Housewives dirt. The Daily met him for an early breakfast at Balthazar to find out why.
BY EDDIE ROCHE
You edit Life & Style and In Touch. How do you manage?
I’ve got two amazing teams, and my day is structured very precisely. We have a meeting around 10:00 a.m., in which we run through the news and specific things going in the issues. I step in and out of both magazines throughout the day.
What is In Touch these days?
It’s your cheeky friend giving you an opinion and entertaining you at the same time. It’s the most newsy magazine on the newsstand. We pick up so much that the other magazines and the Internet miss. We’re a lot more perceptive. We’ll look closer into a photo and notice the bottle of vodka sitting under the star’s table.
Who had a bottle of vodka under their table?
Angelina Jolie had one under her table at an awards dinner once.
And Life & Style?
It’s a more dreamy escape into a stylish world. It’s for the reader that wants a little bit of the celebrity life themselves.
What are some of the recent stories you’ve broken?
We broke the Bethenny Frankel divorce, Tom Cruise’s new girlfriend, and Kate Middleton being pregnant. One of her best friends from school went on the record confirming it.
Sounds like a terrible friend.
Yeah, I wouldn’t be the happiest if I were Kate.
How does Kate sell?
Not as good as you’d expect. She doesn’t connect to the American public in the same way she does in Britain. It’s not always about the star. There has to be an interesting story which resonates with the reader. You can have the biggest scoop in the world and it won’t sell. There has to be an emotional connection.
Didn’t Tom Cruise’s alleged girlfriend say it wasn’t true?
It was 100 percent true. We have reporters everywhere. If you read the story, we have the date, time, and place. All the details. We have a full description of what they are wearing. They were grinding on the dance floor at Le Baron and have been texting ever since.
Do you kill a lot of stories?
So many! What determines if a story runs is whether the reader wants to hear it. We have so many true stories that we don’t end up running because they don’t match the appetite of our reader. You get stars crazy bedroom habits or crazy diva demands. Really obnoxious behavior. We’re the good guys really with the amount of stuff we don’t print. The genre of celebrity weeklies is perceived as mean, but my magazines aren’t mean at all. Our readers want a joyful experience.
Do you ever get tired of covering marriages, babies, and breakups?
My job is to relate what’s going on in the celebrities’ world to my reader’s world and find the connection of what’s happening with J.Lo and Jane in Idaho. Those themes are: wanting to get pregnant, balancing work with a family, and finding the love of your life.
Celebrities often cooperate with People. Are you jealous of their access?
It’s important to tell the most captivating stories. I have no problem not doing those access stories at In Touch. At Life & Style, we do more access stories. Having a celebrity say everything is fine is not the most interesting story for the reader, though.
Weren’t you the one who got us into this Kardashian mess?
I was the first editor to print a photo of Kim, but you can’t blame me. You can blame Ryan Seacrest for that. He gave them the show. Early on I realized the appeal of the Kardashians, and we have had a long-standing relationship with them.
If you emailed Kim, would she email you back?
She would. I was with her one of the first times she met Kanye. There was definitely an electricity between them.
Any sign of them slowing down?
Not at the moment. But they aren’t a surefire seller every time. It depends on the story. Khloé is the one the readers find appealing.
Why do you think that is?
She’s like them. They have curvier bodies. She’s open about her problems, whether it’s finding a man or weight issues. The fact that she doesn’t have any discernible talent is another thing they like. They feel they can have the life of a movie star, but they don’t have to act or sing.
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