March 23, 2005 --
WHILE the "Scratch n' Stiff" scandal swirls outside the Daily News, inside Mort Zuckerman's beleaguered empire, the Cookie Monster is at work.
Michael Cooke the British-born editor — who came to the "hometown paper" by way of the Chicago Sun Times and Canada — has been at the helm of the Snooze for a little over a month and his handiwork is finally becoming clearer.
Gone is business editor David Andelman as of last Friday. One tipster said a shouting match that day was "quite the spectacle."
Andelman, a veteran of Bloomberg News and earlier the New York Times before landing at the Snooze four years ago, insisted he left quietly.
"I've had disagreements with people over the past four years, but nothing over the past week," he said.
Then why the sudden exit?
"I just basically decided I wanted to do something else," said Andelman, who left with a plan for a book, but without lining up a job.
"I spent four years at the Daily News and that was enough and that was fine," said Andelman.
Dan Dunaief, who was Andelman's deputy editor is the acting business editor, but sources say the company is looking outside for a permanent replacement.
Dunaief did not return a call seeking comment.
Meanwhile, Robert Port, a veteran investigative reporter, has quit to join the Albany Times Union.
Insiders said Cooke had wanted to try to work something out to keep Port, but Editorial Director Martin Dunn took the "don't-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out" approach.
Reached yesterday, Port told Ink: "I think the Daily News could be a great newspaper. I've met some excellent journalists here, I just think it's time to move on."
His last day will be next Tuesday, he said.
Of his new gig, senior editor/investigations at the Times Union, he said, "There are some people up there who want to do some big stories and the Hearst Corp. is completely behind them."
Time Inc. appears to have some major headaches after completing its acquisition of the 51 percent of Essence earlier this month.
Weeks before the deal was finalized, Essence pulled the plug on Suede, the new urban fashion magazine that was being headed by Editor in Chief Suzanne Boyd.
Time Inc. wants her to accept an editor at large job with the parent company and is making space.
Boyd has not said yes or no to the idea.
The turmoil continued this week when Diane Weathers told staffers she was resigning as Essence's editor in chief. She's had a stormy tenure, with at least a half dozen top editors heading to the exits in the past year.
Sources say one candidate under consideration is Corynne Corbett, who is now ensconced at Time Inc.'s Real Simple as a beauty and wellness editor. Earlier in her career, she was editor in chief at Heart & Soul and Mode.
Corbett could not be reached for comment.
A spokesperson for Real Simple said, "We're happy to have her [Corbett] and she has no plans to leave the magazine at this point."
Weathers herself did not return a call seeking comment.
Jason Binn, CEO of Niche Media which publishes Gotham and L.A. Confidential, is proceeding with plans to roll out new upscale monthlies in Boston and Washington D.C. this fall.
Now he's tapped Paige Bishop, formerly at Washington Business Journal, to be the launch publisher of Capitol File and Glen Kelley, formerly at Boston Magazine, to be the launch publisher of Boston Commonwealth.
The two new titles are headed for a debut in September with controlled circulation of 70,000 each.