Press Clips, Day 8, Lunch Edition: New York vs. The New Yorker Cage Match Edition
Press Clips has returned to the roost, and we're starting the week off with great news, great media squabbles, hypocrisy, and self-awareness. In other words, your Monday Media Proctology Exam has arrived. 200 people who care about these kinds of things, do enjoy:
Pictured: a figurative portrait of New York Observer senior editor Christian Lorentzen.
New York vs. The New Yorker: Who would win in a cage match to the death, New Yorker editor-in-chief David Remnick or New York magazine editor-in-chief Adam Moss? It might be good to know in case this thing comes to blows: The New Yorker and New York are beefing. Both magazines ran profiles of the Koch Brothers -- who own Koch Industries, apparently the second-largest private company in the U.S. -- within one month of one another. Even more, The New Yorker, whose article just hit newsstands, called New York's profile, which hit newsstands last month, "admiring." Well, nice scoop by WWD's Matthew Lynch, as he found out that New York deputy editor Jon Gluck fired off an email to Remnick calling their "characterization of Goldman's work is false, at best." BEEF! Neither returned calls to Lynch. For the record, everyone seems to be stepping all over one another's toes lately. Both New York and another Conde Nast publication, Vanity Fair were recently working on profiles of the $100M New York cult and their swindling-of-sorts of the Seagram's Liquor fortune through its heiresses. Looks like Graydon Carter and Adam Moss have more pride than David Remnick, because both killed their pieces -- ready to run in forthcoming issues -- about the cult when the New York Observer scooped them. The people obsessed with the cult are still upset about it, but I'm not, because it's like watching Hulk Hogan and Bam Bam Bigelow grapple each other when Randy Savage comes in the ring and knocks both out cold with a chair.
Truly/Slant Happy Endings: Good news and happy endings start the week. Long story short, Michael Roston was a guy who hustled for and was a believer in all the good parts (and there were many) of True/Slant, a blog network that - if you don't know - was (all but) eaten up by Forbes when they brought on T/S's chief Lewis DVorkin, essentially taking True/Slant off the market, and perming much of its blogger model over the one that used to exist there. True/Slant basically helped writers, freelances, people without other outlets with making a little cash blogging on their own, without much interference, with all legs up. It had a low-ceiling for profit in its first and only year, but a great idea with great writers (full disclosure: our own Jen Doll was essentially hired by my our chieftain, Tony Ortega, based on her work at True/Slant, one of her writing outlets before she worked at the Voice among other gigs). Many people called it an "experiment" and a "philosophy" than a "content model," which is too bad: it maybe, possibly could've scaled to further effect, and in fact, sooner than later, might be one that needs to work. For the record, however, True/Slant ended its final month with 1.5M unique visitors, according to them. That's not insignificant.
Either way: It was a good thing, and some good, hardworking people worked there, and they cared about taking good care of good writers as much as they did facilitating good writing. Nobody really knew what was going to happen to these good people after it ended, and well, after a short stint at Forbes assisting Dvorkin make the transition, Roston's now been hired as a frontpage producer for the New York Times website, which if you can't guess, is a pretty swell (read: amazing) gig as far as these things go. So, Happy Monday. This is nice news to start the week off with for everyone in New York who isn't jealous of Roston: thaw, thaw, thaw.
"Oh, And" The New Acquisition-Edition: As for DVorkin redecorating the interior of Forbes with his own model, is anybody noticing a pattern here? Forbes "buys" True/Slant in May, getting the talents and ideas of editor Lewis DVorkin in the process. Gawker "buys" CityFile in March, getting the talents of editor Remy Stern in the process; The New York Times "buys" FiveThirtyEight.com in June, getting the talents of statistics rock star Nate Silver in the process. Can anyone think of any other recent examples? Want a solid Big Name Media gig now, it might be a good idea to have your entire body of work, with your name on it, speak for itself. Loudly.
"Oh, And" Self-Awareness So-This-Happened-Edition: The guy who has yet to fire me, Village Voice Media honcho Michael Lacey, was quoted in David Carr's NYT Media Equation column today about a lawsuit involving my company and another newspaper in San Fransisco. Carr called him "notoriously pugnacious" which, if taken at Carr's word, obviously explains why I'm still here. Rather than render any kind of opinion on a case involving interstate commerce, accusations of monopolistic practices, and the fuckton of money the California courts just said we owe someone -- because I know nothing about the first two and would rather not think about the third because if that is the case, let me note my forthcoming lack of surprise at ever being the first to go -- I will say note Carr's noting of alt-weeklies as "clobbered by the Web," which I contest. Our New Media strategy is stronger than ever, strong like bull. For example, if Lacey ever comes in here and does anything resembling the time he apparently "[grabbed] a copy of the competing weekly off a desk and [stomped] on it for emphasis," I know exactly what I'm going to do: Sit here and blog the shit out of it. Maybe before a Village Voice blogger would've sent that in to a media gossip, but ah, no more! We're savvy, we'd staff the item in-house. And we're also apparently "Charlie"? Carr's piece also manages to get quotes comparing the battles associated with this and that other company to Tombstone and Vietnam, but more importantly, manages to paint those running alt-weeklies as gerddamn hippies. Bruce Brugmann of the SF Bay Guardian, again, not going to say anything regarding the actual case, but you gave this to Carr, man, you hand-fed him this:
"We got involved in '39, I mean '69, and this is one of the greatest scandals in the history of the United States," he begins, and he winds into a fight song that goes on from there.
It's like being Jewish and watching The Merchant of Venice: We of America's Alt-Weekly Community are not, for the record, aging hippies, and if we are, they're certainly not passing "the good dope" down to staffers, who no longer get to partake in "the grass" at lunch every day. Just saying.
ESPNo Fun: ESPN reneged on permission to let one of their female talking heads do a beer endorsement. There's nothing worse than a company who spreads itself prostrate for those they don't need to in order for some extra cash -- see James, LeBron -- and then doesn't let their employees do so after telling them they can.
More to come later! It's nice to be back.