American editors rush to keep it all tasteful

The death of Diana, Princess of Wales and controversy over the activities of paparazzi have precipitated a rush by US media to remove any advertising or tabloid reports that might be considered distasteful.

It has also brought an avalanche of statements from of editors and news outlets saying they would not touch any photographs of the accident with a barge pole - or words to that effect. Two of the largest supermarket chains, Kroger Co and Winn-Dixie Stores, said they would remove any newspapers or magazines that published pictures of the fatal accident.

But a branch of Kroger's in Columbus, Ohio, stepped out of line, saying that while they would not display such papers, they would sell copies to people who specifically asked for them. Several publications, which had almost as great a preoccupation with "Di" as their British counterparts, were caught unawares. The current issue of the National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid, so called because they are sold primarily at supermarket check- outs, had a front-page picture of the Princess with the headline "Di goes sex-mad", about her affair with Dodi Fayed.

Some shops have withdrawn copies from sale, others have had them ripped off the shelves by angry individuals - and in some cases, burnt.

The paper's editor, Steve Coz, said the coincidence of the cover with her death was "an unfortunate circumstance"

The editor of the Globe, another supermarket tabloid, issued an apology for an article in the current issue which used the headline "To Di For".

Potentially even more embarrassing was a series of advertisements that were to have been launched this week by the Duchess of York for the Weight Watchers slimming chain. A promotional brochure already distributed shows a smiling duchess with a legend that begins: "It's harder than outrunning the paparazzi ... It's the hardest thing in the world. Staying on a diet." The campaign has been cancelled and 95 per cent of the brochures and advertising have been withdrawn.