Editor of 'Enquirer' sacked after sales slump

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The Independent Online

The National Enquirer's infatuation with British journalists may have run its course. Its British editor, Paul Field, has been fired and the future could be uncertain for some of the Fleet Street reporters he hired to reinvigorate the US magazine.

Mr Field, 34, was escorted from the magazine's New York offices on Tuesday, apparently having had no idea that the Enquirer's owners, American Media Inc (AMI), were planning such a shake-up. AMI has said it is closing the magazine's New York office and will operate out of its Florida headquarters.

The changes at the Enquirer, famous for its celebrity scoops and showbiz gossip, are part of a broader shake-up by AMI. Three of its titles are being closed and about 9 per cent of its staff face redundancy.

"The magazine industry is in a challenging time for advertising and circulation," AMI's chairman, David Pecker, said in a statement. "This is not a reflection of any individual's performance, but it is prudent to review your portfolio of magazines."

Under the 18-month tenure of Mr Field, a former associate editor of The Sun who previously worked at the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, the Enquirer has had no shortage of scoops. It recently published photographs apparently taken inside the home of the singer Whitney Houston. But the magazine's sales were down almost 25 per cent in the second half of 2005, with an average weekly sale of 815,989.

Mr Field's position will be filled by the former National Enquirer editor David Perel, who was moved sideways when the British journalist was hired in 2004.