We just got word that the New York Observer‘s star media reporter John Koblin has left the paper. This goes in line with rumors we were hearing that Koblin would be out following his yearly US Open coverage. If true, it’s a bad day and huge loss for the paper. Know any more? Hit us up. Update:
And we’ve now recieved word from multiple sources that he’s going to be working for the (IRL version of) Peter Kaplan, the New York Observer‘s longtime former editor who manned the paper until last summer, a little under two years after it was purchased by Jared Kushner, the son of a disgraced New Jersey real-estate mogul, Charles Kushner, and even more notably, Ivanka Trump’s husband. Since Kaplan’s departure, almost the entirety of the former Observer staff has left. Word has it Koblin told Pope earlier this morning in a face-to-face meeting.
UPDATE 2: For what it’s worth, we’re being told that this is a really bad week for the New York Observer: Unrelated to Koblin’s departure but interesting nonetheless is that freelance budgets have been hedged until January 2011, and they’ve had to put some of their talent off to the side until then, when they’ll (supposedly) pick them back up again, or at least that’s what some of them have been told.
One of the problems we keep hearing reported from out of the Observer — dating back to Kaplan, shortly after Kushner took over the paper — is that every time a writer left, the money for that writer’s position would be taken out of the editorial budget, if not the full amount, at least a significant percentage of it. We were told this was one of the problems that led to editor-in-chief Kyle Pope telling his staff the place was a “shitshow” and that he was at “war” with the paper’s publisher in a meeting a few weeks ago. If they want to even remotely make up for the kind of talent and reputation Koblin brought to the paper, they’re gonna have to spend. The question as to whether or not the purse-strings care remains to be answered.
UPDATE 3: Quote from John Koblin, who says he’s going to be covering media at Women’s Wear Daily’s Memo Pad, which has been manned by a number of some bigger-ticket media industry reporters over the years. Koblin: “The Observer was my first job out of school, and I’ve had the best time here. WWD is a fantastic source for media coverage, and I can’t wait to join their team. Also! It’s gong to be a lot of fun to work in an office with Peter Kaplan again.” Might be time to bookmark those browsers. For the record, Koblin marks the second-high profile hire Kaplan’s made from the New York Observer since he arrived at Fairchild. The first was a few weeks ago, when he poached longtime New York Observer art director Nancy Butkus away from the paper after many years of service at the paper. No word on whether or not the paper’s recent redesign had anything to do with her departure, or if it was the last project she saw on her way out — or if it had something to do with her being told to stiff freelancers from up above — but fact is, a longtime talent and one of the Observer‘s hottest young upstarts are going to work with their former ringleader. One part of the band got back together at Capital New York; it looks like another one’s now developing.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 27, 2010