The New York Post's Exile Insanity (Updated)
Reports today surfaced from Gawker that the New York Post is having some staffing issues. And by "staffing issues" we mean "are losing high-profile reporters due to the crumbling civility of the volatile Post management and competing offers." The report included big Post names like Page Six gossip Neel Shah -- who, having previously been at Gawker and Radar, was a huge get for them -- along with metro reporters Lukas Alpert and James Fanelli. Well... [UPDATED]
....not only have we heard from multiple sources, now, that Gawker's report was accurate in that:
- Shah is moving to LA to do TV. Daily Intel reports that he scored a staff writing gig on NBC's Friends With Benefits.
- Alpert and Fanelli are going to the Daily News.
Also, that the Post's poor management was absolutely part of the problem, which is why Alpert and Fanelli started putting their feelers out there for new gigs, though Post editor-in-chief Col Allan wasn't specifically named to us as the Post's management problem there as he was in the Gawker post.
The Post has been embroiled in a number of staffing scandals over the last year that -- as Hamilton Nolan also noted -- included lawsuits alleging racism and sexism. Given that this is the paper employing Sean Delonas as their cartoonist and Andrea Peyser as a featured columnist, you think?
Even more, though, is that we hear Alpert tried to stay at the Post, and told them of his competing offer from the Daily News. How'd management react? By having him escorted out of the building by guards, in front of all of his former Post colleagues. This isn't a network of proprietary secrets, or the CIA. It's the Post. And this is how they deal with newsroom morale apparently.
Two metro reporters for the Post obviously aren't going to be as huge of a loss as Shah could turn out to be for them. The Daily News just beefed up their gossip column -- Gatecrasher -- with former Vanity Fair and New York Observer staffer Frank DiGiacomo. The paper took a big loss editorially in gossip reporter George Rush taking a buyout from the News, but Gatecrasher -- which hasn't quite reached the level of popularity since Aussie gossip Ben Widdecombe left it in early 2008 -- could actually prove to be some serious competition for the Post's gossip sheet, especially in light of Shah's departure. In the mean time, the Post now apparently has three slots open, so long as you don't mind a job managed through the supposedly paranoid, sexist, racist, bullying standard that's making people leave in the first place.
Update: We've now been told that Lukas Alpert resigned yesterday after he was told by the Post on Tuesday night that they wouldn't counter his Daily News offer. He was escorted out of the building by a human resources staffer, and that it wasn't as hostile as the account we'd initially heard, which is above.
That said, it's not the kind of crazy shit I'd put past the Post at this point. It just didn't happen in this instance.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.