NO LONGER JUST GAWKING: Jared Kushner reportedly once said that if staffers at the New York Observer were doing their job right, Gawker wouldn’t have reason to exist. Will hiring the Web site’s original voice help change that? He’s about to find out, as he’s tapped Elizabeth Spiers to succeed Kyle Pope as editor in chief. In a story that was posted around noontime at observer.com, staffers found out they would have a new editor, the fourth to come to the pink paper in 20 months. Even though there had been significant tension between Kushner and Pope for months, and sources said Kushner had been looking for a new editor for some time, the shift still came as a surprise to the newsroom.
“I am very excited to be working with Elizabeth to further build on the great progress we have made over the past few years. She will be instrumental in taking our print and online products to the next level,” said Kushner, who declined to comment beyond this quote, which originally ran Friday on observer.com.
This story first appeared in the February 7, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Spiers, who also didn’t respond by press time, has had a few different career paths, from analyzing stocks for hedge funds and working as a tech consultant to working at Gawker and becoming founder of Dead Horse Media, the blog network behind Fashionista, Dealbreaker and Above the Law. She also served as editor in chief of Mediabistro.com and, in print, she was a front-of-the-book editor at New York magazine and a columnist at Fortune. Insiders called her a talented editor who knows how to work with young writers. In the press, Kushner has said that the Observer could become profitable this year. Pope, who also did not comment, will remain affiliated with the paper until the end of March.