Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai (
Within hours of hitting the newsstands yesterday, Next magazine was sold out.
The premier issue: Accusations from the jilted lover of Chao Chien-min (
On the magazine's cover was a photograph of Chao holding hands with fiancee Chen Ching-yu (
"The ex-girlfriend of the president's prospective son-in-law gives her inside story of a womanizer," the headline said.
In the story, the girlfriend accused Chao of dumping her to find someone who could help him advance his career.
Sensational, indeed. All 270,000 copies of the double-issue edition -- which contained other stories of political and business leaders, gangsters and TV entertainers with sensational paparazzi-style photographs -- sold out within four hours.
That followed an NT$120 million advertising campaign successful in creating a buzz about the publication. One ad plastered to the side of Taipei public buses shows two eyes on a woman's bare bottom. The accompanying title says: ``Adultery? Please watch out.''
Those who liked the magazine said yesterday the publication was doing a good job "upholding the people's right to know" by putting the lives of public figures under the microscope.
"We're entitled to know the real sides of politicians. We want to know whether their words match their deeds," one reader said.
But others criticized the magazine for invading the personal lives of public figures by choosing issues that have little public interest.
"Why do we need to know about the past romantic history of the future son-in-law of the president? It's entirely irrelevant to the welfare of the general public," said Liu Hui-ping (
Liu said that the media should report not on what people "want to know," but what readers "are entitled to know."
Ping Lu (
"Tabloid reporting is inevitable in a society where people tend to have a desire to poke and pry into other people's private affairs, but there is a limit to it," Ping said.
"If politicians intend to portray themselves as perfect characters during election campaigns, then it is the media's responsibility to expose their lies. Otherwise, I don't see the point of it," she said.
Other commentators said stiffer competition in the cutthroat world of media would probably lower the quality of journalism in the country.
Still, Chin Heng-wei (
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