11:47 am Sep. 17, 2012
The Lineup collects the media stories, big and small, that are on our radar each day.
Two years ago, the writer Nathan Heller profiled the authors of the brilliant satirical Twitter identities based on long-time New York Observer editor Peter Kaplan. And now he has profiled the real Peter Kaplan for the Oct. 4 issue of The New Republic.
The peg for the TNR piece is the new magazine, M, that Kaplan is launching for Fairchild Fashion Media.
The debut issue hits newsstands next week, and among the articles readers will find is a feature about—you guessed it—The New Republic.
TNR's editors apparently found the coincidence worth pointing out in a footnote to the Kaplan piece, which reads:
*M’s inaugural issue will feature a spread about The New Republic; that story and this profile were conceived and reported independently.
M's TNR piece was written by Erik Maza, the media reporter for Women's Wear Daily, one of the other titles under the Fairchild umbrella of which Kaplan is editorial director.
But yeah, TNR's kind portrait of the former Observer editor (who once employed just about every member of Capital's editorial staff) is what fans of a certain variation of inside baseball would consider a "must-read."
Although Kaplan is seen (or lampooned) today as a spokesman for the hoary charms of screwball comedy and ink-stained fingers, he has also, quietly, played a big role in marking the path of digital-age journalism. It’s hard to find a major publication right now, in print or online, that’s not in some way flavored by the old Observer: Subtract Kaplan from the media landscape of the past 20 years and you lose The Awl, much of Gawker, and a good bit of Politico, too. You lose many of the most distinctive reporter-stylists at magazines like New York, favorite bylines in the Sunday Times, and even members of the writing staff of “Girls.” It was Kaplan who hired Candace Bushnell, a struggling freelance contributor, and suggested that she write her way into the mounting erotics of money and power in ’90s New York by reporting them as a narrative he called “Sex and the City.” And it is Kaplan who attended to many voices long before they started tearing down the mainstream. Nikki Finke was a Kaplan writer. So was Ben Smith. It’s not just that his spunky sensibility has seeped into the DNA of Internet prose. (Sicha, a defining voice of Gawker and a co-founder of The Awl, told me that when he sits down to write, it’s still Kaplan’s taste and standards he is trying to meet.) What Kaplan offers is an eye to the long arc of journalistic craft—a sense of how today’s reporting, form, and style compare not only to the coverage of, say, the last election cycle, but to the greater arc of journalistic evolution since the late Jazz Age.
P.S.: This week's TNR cover story on Paul Ryan appears to have been illustrated by Philip Burke, one of the stable of four artists cultivated by Kaplan to draw cover illustrations for the Observer. (Burke, like his fellow Observer illustrator alumni Barry Blitt, Drew Friedman, Victor Juhasz and Robert Grossman, is pretty prolific in quality magazines, of course, so it's not quite a shock.)
In other news....
David Carr on the "puppetry" of quote approval. [The New York Times]
Michael Wolff asks: "What will happen to Tina Brown? And should we care?" [USA Today]
Oscar de la Renta v. Cathy Horyn. [The New York Times]
The Daily News has a new politics editor. [Politico/On Media]
Marin Cogan profiles MSNBC host Al Sharpton. [GQ/Death Race 2012]
Behind The Wall Street Journal's e-book business. [Digital Book World]
New York City is attempting to evict a legendary Astor Place newsstand man. [The New York Post]
A harsh reality for hyperlocals. [NetNewsCheck]
More by this author:
- 'Village Voice' fires Michael Musto in yet another round of cuts
- 'New York Post' buyouts focus on 'loyal soldiers ... highest paid'