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FEWER OBSERVERS: Before The New York Observer staffers attended the going away party for Peter Kaplan last week, interim editor in chief Tom McGeveran told editorial employees that layoffs were coming by last Friday.
And as predicted, McGeveran cut a third of the 30 to 40 person edit team, including managing editor Jesse Wegman, executive editor Peter Stevenson; national correspondent Joe Conason; movie reviewer Andrew Sarris; editors Damian Da Costa, Matt Haber, Chris Shott and John Vorwald; reporters Spencer Morgan and Doree Shafrir, writer George Gurley and photo editor Alana Kaloshi was also let go.
Staffers that will remain at the paper are most of the beat reporters who produce stories daily.
The Observer’s print and online staffers will also work closer together going forward with most contributing to and editing on both platforms.
According to sources close to the paper, the moves were based on a need to trim the editorial budget as financial pressures mount, and not a reflection of the regime change of McGeveran taking over as editor.
However, an increase in the Observer’s freelance budget is commensurate with the salaried staff cuts, and some laid off writers could freelance for the paper.
On Monday, Observer owner Jared Kushner addressed the remaining edit team to reassure them of his commitment to the paper, his hope to rehire back some staffers as financials improve and even spoke of growth plans.
According to several sources, the Observer Media Group is pursuing a joint venture with e-mail newsletter Very Short List, which was founded by Kurt Andersen and is funded by IAC.
A deal could happen in the next few weeks, said sources.
“IAC and Jared have been having serious discussions,” said Andersen. A spokeswoman for the Observer had no comment.