FEWER OBSERVERS: Before New York Observer staffers attended the going-away party for Peter Kaplan last week, interim editor in chief Tom McGeveran told editorial employees 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 Shafir; writer George Gurley, and photo editor Alana Kaloshi was also let go. Most of the beat reporters who produce stories daily will remain at the paper. 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. — S.D.S.
NOT MY FAULT: “I did not single-handedly kill newspapers,” Arianna Huffington exclaimed to a room full of writers and editors, on hand for the annual Newhouse School Mirror Awards on Tuesday. “I have had a lot of help from Craigslist.” She made a similar statement Monday evening at the Webby Awards, but expanded on her take on the media environment when she received the Fred Dressler lifetime achievement award Tuesday. Nora Ephron, who presented the award, said she didn’t like Huffington the first time they met because they were dating the same man. (Huffington later said she might post the man’s identity on Twitter.)
Huffington preached to the media crowd that pay walls won’t work unless the sites are selling something specialized and said if changes aren’t made, the industry could become “like Detroit.” She also stressed the Huffington Post pays its editors — but bloggers still do not get paid.
Other Mirror Awards winners took a much different approach, where most simply walked up to the podium and accepted their awards without providing further comment. Vanity Fair took home two awards, including Seth Mnookin’s “Bloomberg Without Bloomberg,” for the “best single article, traditional media,” and David Kamp’s “Requiem for a Micro-celebrity,” won for “best single article, digital media.” The New York Times also received two awards, one was given to David Carr for “best commentary, traditional media,” and David Barstow’s “Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand” and “One Man’s Military-industrial-Media Complex” won for “best in-depth piece, traditional media.” The “best profile” was awarded to The New Yorker’s Ian Parker, for “The Bright Side,” and Clive Thompson won for “best commentary, digital media,” for wired.com. — Amy Wicks
PORTRAIT OF A LADY: Kanye West will host Men.Style.com’s third annual “25 Women of Fashion” celebration tonight at the newly opened Palace Gate lounge in the courtyard of New York’s Palace Hotel. The event celebrates industry insiders “who make the world more glamorous,” said Dirk Standen, editor in chief of Men.Style.com and its sibling site, Style.com. This year’s party will have a twist: Olivier Zahm, editor of Purple Fashion, will photograph honorees like Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Charlotte Ronson, Rachel Roy and Alexa Chung in a suite inside the hotel during the event. The snaps will appear with a feature on Men.Style.com the following day.
The women were chosen by an all-male panel that included designers Rogan Gregory and Philip Crangi; hockey star and ex-Vogue intern Sean Avery; DJ Paul Sevigny, and The Sartorialist blogger Scott Schuman. — David Lipke