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  • By Howard Kurtz
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, December 16, 1998; Page D6

    If the impeachment struggle drags on into next week, editors at U.S. News & World Report will have a slight problem getting out an issue.

    They'll be homeless.

    The magazine is moving from its home at 24th and N streets NW into the Foundry building in Georgetown. Workers are coming to rip out the phones, unplug the computers and load the boxes; the place will be empty by Saturday.

    "To say it's vital that impeachment is completed this week is putting it mildly. . . . We're just praying everything happens by the end of this week," said Stephen Smith, the magazine's editor.

    The move was scheduled for what is generally a "dark" week for the three major newsweeklies, which prepare year-end double issues so they can take off for the holidays. But with President Clinton's fate hanging in the balance, this is hardly the slow news period of Christmases past.

    "Depending on how long it drags on, we have several options -- holding this week's issue or coming back next week," said Mark Whitaker, Newsweek's editor. But, he said, "if there's no news over the holidays, people may want a break."

    "We're always prepared to do an issue in 'dark' week," said Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson. "We have the staff and the capability and the printing capacity. Speaking personally, I need a vacation."

    All three editors say they are unlikely to put together an unscheduled issue next week if the voting is wrapped up by the weekend. But U.S. News is in the tightest spot because it usually closes Friday night, not Saturday night. The magazine can push back its deadlines through the weekend, but "at some point it gets to be financially prohibitive," Smith said.

    U.S. News has been published in the West End since its 1933 launch, moving just once, from across the street, 15 years ago.

    "If the world comes to an end next week -- well, we'd ask Newsweek or The Washington Post if we could borrow some space or something," Smith said. "Under ordinary circumstances, we would be able and wouldn't hesitate to call out the troops. But because of the move, we are out of play."

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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