ANOTHER OBSERVER LAY OFF: Jared Kushner, the New York Observer owner, has laid off another business-side person, Julie Dannenberg, the publisher of Scene, a monthly glossy owned by the larger Observer Media Group. Last week the group laid off 11 staffers, including two ad directors, as part of a reorganization.
Dannenberg had been a high-profile poach for the Observer a little over a year ago. She was the publisher of society magazine Avenue, but along with editor in chief and party gadfly Peter Davis and creative director Cricket Burns defected and regrouped at chez Kushner with Scene, which, according to the Observer, has a closed circulation of 40,000 distributed to high-income Manhattan addresses.
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It’s unclear how profitable Scene was for the Observer, but the magazine made it to its one-year anniversary. The accomplishment was celebrated with a party at the Wooly in the Financial District last month. The Observer did not comment on the circumstances around Dannenberg’s exit. Davis said the decision to lay off Dannenberg was not his. But he said the magazine had recently changed formats — with a larger trim size and new logo — and, even though the changes were editorial, “the new direction meant a new team on the business side.”
He said he wasn’t ready to divulge the name of Dannenberg’s successor. Dannenberg, meanwhile, is moving on to a business unrelated to publishing, Davis said. She did not respond to requests for comment.
Davis said part of the magazine’s new direction includes more synergy with the weekly paper. “The way T [The New York Times Style Magazine] is to the Times, we’ll be to the Observer,” he said. In a separate e-mail, he described Scene as “a local Vanity Fair.”