Press Clips: Does the New York Observer Have a Dealbreaker?


The Village Voice‘s media column makes its triumphant return after a hiatus; contrary to non-popular belief, we have not been purchased by AOL or — like every other media reporter in New York, apparently — changed jobs. Press Clips, Day 10, Late Afternoon Edition, right here:

Bess Levin’s Dealbreaker: Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider reports on a massive media move, the New York Observer‘s potentially forthcoming acquisition of juicy finance blog Dealbreaker, and more importantly, the site’s prime talent, Bess Levin, who may or may not be holding out for more scratch. To editorialize: GET IT, GIRL. There’s nothing like seeing bloggers get capital-P Paid, specifically because it gives some of us (ahem) hope. Levin’s gotten great byline from the Observer before, having already docked five bylines with them during her short-lived column there earlier this Summer, which was after she was named one of their Insurgents of 2010. Levin’s also been getting some work with New York Magazine, sharing bylines with Daily Intel’s Jessica Pressler on gritty, fun finance features (most recently a hysterical spread in their “Who Runs New York?” issue depicting financial figures as post-apocalypse monsters). Maybe the New York Observer would rather be the new-New York Observer as opposed to ceding that title to New York Magazine, who — now that the deal is out in the open — may very well make a play for Levin in the process. If they scored Dealbreaker, this would mark the second acquisition for the New York Observer since last year’s unloading of Very Short List to them, and it goes without saying, wouldn’t hurt having “marquee talent” like Levin joining them after media reporter John Koblin’s departure last Monday.

Transom Young Men: Did anybody notice that the New York Observer hired former Awl summer intern Nate Freeman as a full-time reporter? Freeman’s a funny, young talent, and if his recent (and hysterical) print filing on the resurgence of downtown hot spot Don Hill’s is any evidence, there are great things from him to come. For those keeping score, Freeman — who started the blog Hashtag Hashtag with his friends from Duke University — isn’t the only Hashtag alum to see success among New York’s media set. Ben Cohen is a former Deadspin intern-turned-contributor, and most recently, picked up some work with the Wall Street Journal. Sam Schlinkert did a short stint with Parade, and is now blogging for Flavorwire.

The High Standards of Keith Kelly: Via Craig Silverman at Regret the Error, here’s Media Watch talking to the New York Post‘s Media Ink columnist, Keith Kelly, as he brags about how he’ll print bullshit rumors just to retaliate against sources who don’t kiss his ring:

One time, there was somebody giving what I call the gift-wrapped scoop to one of my friendly rivals at a broadsheet paper. and I said, ‘Look, I was on that story and you gave it to them. Here’s what i’m going to do. Every story from now on, every cockamamie rumor that comes out of your company is going in my paper. I’ll call you at the end of the day and say you deny the report…and then you deal with the consequences.

The title of the piece labels him as the “scourge of the media industry,” and it’s not surprising that anybody at the New York Post does anything short of molesting barnyard animals for whatever the purpose may be, but can someone remind me what the last awesome Keith Kelly scoop was? Kelly may be a scourge, but it certainly doesn’t mean he’s a powerful one. Also, anyone who compares media reporting to being a cop in public, on-record

(A) has never met anyone who doesn’t work in media or
(B) a police reporter or a cop or
(C) is only accurate in their latent assessment of some cops/the New York Post as inherently crooked.

The Mad Age of AdAge: Is Newser NewsBro/Enemy to Rupert Murdochs everywhere Michael Wolff becoming the editorial director of anything other than anything short of strange? He’s going to be lording over Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek. Hamilton Nolan sums up everyone’s feeling’s fairly well: “Uh. Why?” Michael Wolff, please don’t call me about this item, I don’t have time to be yelled at by you again today. The bigger point is that Wolff is giving up his Vanity Fair media column, which actually makes me proud of Wolff, in a strange way: for anyone to have a Vanity Fair column is a huge pride point, even if nobody but Hamilton, myself, and four other people (hate-)read it. To give that up and suggest of ones-self the talent to revitalize a bunch of trades is at the very worst, a massive trade-off of hubris, but on a good day, ballsy and exciting. Here’s hoping to Wolff (last seen intellectually assaulting a dying paraplegic and his 14 year-old son) and his new co-workers that this all goes well, though if it doesn’t, it’ll give us plenty to write about. Also enjoyable: Wolff found the one Media Decoder byline nobody recognizes to give his “scoop” to. Heh.

Dan “the Donger” Abrams Keeps It Real: I have yet to read Gabriel Sherman’s cover story for New York Magazine about the cable news wars, but I can’t wait. If his last cover about Murdoch-owned media entities for New York was any indication, this will be fun. One section from the story has already started to stand out, mainly, of Mediaite owner Dan Abrams’ notoriously testy behavior while at MSNBC, and how Keith Olbermann thought he was a punk. Especially: “Staffers were in near open revolt after Abrams proposed a new tagline, “MSNBC: Keepin’ It Real.” Besides sounding like something Ruff McGruff would tell you about not smoking crack, it’s just funny, though it was nice to hear about one fight of Dan’s at a recent panel against someone who might have deserved it: Bob Garfield, who we received several emails informing us that, while Dan Abrams Is Never Not Dan Abrams, Bob Garfield is “an asshole” (direct quote, several times) and probably deserved whatever berated Abrams offered him. Dan Abrams, he keeps it real?

Nick Denton New Yorker Profile Definitely Completely Totally Happening Now: I was called today for fact-checking, it’s running this weekend. Should be fun. Given the other people who have also been called for fact-checking, actually, it will definitely be fun.

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That’s it for today’s Press Clips! If you made it down here, thanks. Don’t forget to come back tonight for the liveblog of Parker/Spitzer. And this goes out to all the Bess Levins, for whom it’s time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade.


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