'New York Press' archives fall into a hole, but it's temporary, says publisher Tom Allon
Trying to Google an old column from New York Press? An installment of Jim Knipfel's "Slackjaw," say? Or Russ Smith's "Mugger"? Armond White's archive of cranky film reviews, or Matt Taibbi's infamous "52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope"?
For now, all you'll get are "404 page not found" errors.
But a trove of Press classics appears to be gone. (Although most of the works of the early, pre-Internet luminaries of the late alt-weekly whose print edition was shut down last summer, like Dave Eggers, Jonathan Ames and Amy Sohn, never made it online in the first place, we're told. Apparently that's when the internet tendency kicked in.)
Sources told Capital that no articles from earlier than around the fall of 2011 survived the content migration that accompanied the site's latest redesign on Feb. 14, thus sending an army of underpaid former freelancers into fits of rage.
"Writers were furious," said someone familiar with the situation.
We spoke with one such scribe who was mourning the loss of some 1,000 web bylines from the past five or so years. (Full disclosure: I wrote for the Press regularly back in 2006-2007; mine are all gone, too.)
The developers the company retained to handle the redesign haven't yet been able to bring all the old content over, said Manhattan Media C.E.O. (and current 2013 mayoral candidate) Tom Allon. It's not like there was some decision to scotch the archives, he said.
"We're eager to get the archives back up," he said. "The production timeline is the only thing that's held us back from doing so immediately."
Allon said he hopes the problem will be corrected in two to three weeks. (Then again, we all know how these things sometimes go: more slowly than anticipated.)
In the meantime, the new nypress.com, which publishes original content as well as aggregating coverage from the company's other publications, including the political paper City & State and several community weeklies, looks a lot cleaner and better-organized that its previous incarnation.
"It is our intention that this will become Mayor Bloomberg's homepage," Allon told Capital back in December. "It will be the quintessential website for the savvy Manhattanite."
The person responsible for making that happen on the editorial side is Marissa Maier (stepdaugher of Spalding Gray), who was initially hired last July to edit the Press following the departure of previous longtime editor Jerry Portwood. This was right before the paper was shuttered following years of advertising and circulation declines, at which point Maier then became editor of Our Town Downtown, which launched an arts section called "New York Press." The reins of zombie nypress.com were handed to Amy Michelle Smith, an early-20-something former intern for Manhattan Media's luxury magazine, Avenue, which she has since moved back to as an editor, thus making Maier the new captain of New York Press 3.0.
Speaking of Avenue, we asked Allon whether he'd checked out the debut issue of the rival society mag just launched by competing publisher Jared Kushner and three of Allon's former employees, including erstwhile Avenue editor Peter Davis.
"We have been as underwhelmed by its debut issue as many of our clients and readers have," he said. "Avenue is the gold standard of luxury magazines, and perhaps one day Scene will approach that gold standard, but out of the gate, they're very far away from that."