By Ann S. Moore/President
Updated December 16, 1996 12:00 PM

I USED TO READ PEOPLE AND SAY, ‘That’s a good story. Why didn’t we do it?’ ” says Neal Shapiro, executive producer of Dateline NBC. “PEOPLE’s stories have the same sensibilities as Dateline’s. They’re about real people and the real feelings and dilemmas they have.” We agree, which is why we’ve formed a partnership with Dateline. Now you can catch some of PEOPLE’s most compelling stories, not just in our pages but also on NBC’s thrice-weekly newsmagazine. “We wanted to team up with a strong network to give our pieces maximum exposure,” says PEOPLE vice president Jeremy Koch.

“And Dateline was expanding and had a need for stories. The people there subscribe to the same journalistic principles we do and understand the emotional quality of our stories.”

Dateline’s first PEOPLE segment, which ran Sept. 8, was on Habitat for Humanity rebuilding Gerald and Pat Turner’s new house in Alexandria, Va., after it was burned to the ground. On Dec. 8, Dateline was scheduled to air its fifth PEOPLE piece, on the women skaters featured on this week’s cover. “This gives us an opportunity to bring PEOPLE’s journalism to a new audience,” says managing editor Lanny Jones. “We are pleased to add TV’s unique strength to the stories we do.”

Picture editor M.C. Marden found herself working closely with TV people last spring—but they weren’t from Dateline. A Turner Original Productions crew “was constantly filming over my shoulder to capture the frenzy of piecing together the cover story on Princess Di’s trip to Chicago,” she says. The resulting hour-long documentary, Behind the Scenes at PEOPLE Magazine, is scheduled to air on TBS on Dec. 15 at 9 p.m. ET. Viewers will get a glimpse of the work—and guesswork—that goes into choosing each week’s cover subject. They’ll also see what it takes to get a finished story to the presses by deadline.

The cameras caught deputy managing editor Carol Wallace and executive editor Cutler Durkee as they selected Denzel Washington as this year’s Sexiest Man Alive—and then switched gears to direct our coverage of the tragic TWA Flight 800 story. “I hope viewers see not only the hard work we put in but also the spirit of the magazine,” says Marden. “It’s rare to work under such high pressure every day and still have such a good time but—usually—we manage.”

In its nearly 23 years, PEOPLE has had only four managing editors. This month our third, Lanny Jones’s predecessor Jim Gaines, is leaving Time Inc. and moving to Boulder, Colo., to write and teach after becoming the first editor in this company’s history to lead three of its magazines: PEOPLE, LIFE and TIME. It should go without saying—but won’t here—that without Jim’s imagination, boldness and boundless curiosity, PEOPLE would not have become what it is. No one who hasn’t worked with Jim can truly appreciate the range of his talents. We have, and we do.