Media Moves: Nick Summers in The Koblin Spot at the New York Observer, Dana Rubinstein Out

The New York Observer's star media reporter John Koblin left his post there a few weeks ago to work with longtime Observer editor-in-chief Peter Kaplan at Fairchild Publications as Women's Wear Daily's Memo Pad reporter. Culture editor Sara Vilkomerson left last week for a job with Entertainment Weekly. This week, Koblin's replacement has been found, and another Observer writer has left.

We've confirmed that Nick Summers -- the founder of the website IvyGate and a former Newsweek reporter -- has joined the paper to take Koblin's spot. On each Observer beat, there's a senior reporter and a junior reporter. John Koblin was the junior reporter under Felix Gillette, and was elevated to the senior position once Gillette left to go to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Zeke Turner was the junior reporter under Koblin, and Summers is being brought in above him. A tipster writes in:

Zeke should have gotten that job. The morale in the newsroom is already in the dumps: hiring an outsider only makes it worse. I'm sure Nick is a good guy and talented. But Kyle doesn't understand that Observer writers were never stars when they got into those spots (including Koblin, Sherman, Calderone, etc.). They become stars by having natural talent and moving up the ranks. Maybe he doesn't know how to raise young writers (/be a fucking editor) so he gives these jobs away to more established people. It's crap.

Harsh. Meanwhile, Real Estate reporter Dana Rubinstein -- who's been at the Observer for two and a half years -- is leaving the Observer. She tells us: "I'm leaving to test my mettle in the freelance market." Real estate reporter Eliot Brown -- who also left the Observer recently -- did the same thing. The Awl's Choire Sicha, a former Observer staffer, puts this into context (without naming names):

Today at the New York Observer: a woman reporter quits to go freelance, and a man gets hired from outside to replace another recently departed reporter. (Of four candidates known to have been interviewed for the job, all four were men. That's a terrible metric, to be fair: conceivably, hundreds of candidates could have been interviewed.) In any event, there are still five staff writers at the paper, but now only one is a woman.

He also tags the post "I'M JUST SAYING THIS IS HAPPENING, JUST FYI, MEDIA, NEW YORK OBSERVER, SOURCES CANNOT PINPOINT MORE THAN ONE GAY EDITORIAL EMPLOYEE NO MATTER HOW THEY SLICE IT."

Rubinstein leaving the paper marks the 17th major Observer departure in less than a year.

[Full Disclosure: this blogger was one of the (apparently four, male) candidates in talks regarding the opening.]

Correction: It was just explained that the above line about John Koblin and Felix Gillette is inaccurate and doesn't have the editorial chain-of-command at the Observer correct. We apologize for the error.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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