'Observer' ropes old talent (Cynthia Cotts, George Gurley, Nina Burleigh) and new into its bullpen
Following a string of recent staff departures, recently-installed New York Observer editor Aaron Gell has announced some new talent grabs.
We'll start with Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke, who is the latest to uphold that age-old tradition of beginning as an intern for the weekly and working his or her way to one of its most prominent and coveted beats: She's been named media reporter, succeeding Kat Stoeffel, who left last month for a gig at New York magazine's The Cut.
Bloomgarden-Smoke, a recent journalism-school graduate, has already been blogging up a storm these past few weeks, including at least one well-trafficked scoop regarding Tony Ortega's recent departure from The Village Voice.
Speaking of the Voice, Bloomgarden-Smoke will be joined on the Observer's media desk by Cynthia Cotts, a former Voice media columnist circa the late '90s and early 2000s who will now "be contributing occasional freelance features and blog posts on the media beat," according to a memo Gell sent out to staff today.
And Cotts is not the only old-school New York reporter type back in the mix: George Gurley, a longtime former Observer staff writer whose byline has only appeared in the paper a handful of times over the past few years, "will be contributing longer features for us," wrote Gell. "Sometimes MUCH longer."
Gell's full memo, including several other new appointments, is below:
Dear Observer, Please take take a moment today to say hi to Faye Penn, who will be helping out on the editing side for the coming weeks. Faye has served as a features editor at New York and executive features editor at the Post, and she is the founder and proprietor of Brokelyn.com. I have been edited by Faye myself—she is very, very good. Relentless but also friendly and unflappable.
In addition, please join me in welcoming Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke, once an intern at the Observer, now our media reporter (already with a few scoops under her belt), and Noam Cohen, our new copy chief. In addition to copy editing the paper and the CO, Noam is scanning the sites and making fixes when necessary. Copy editing all of your posts is a rather daunting task, so I've asked him to keep track of chronic mistakes and let you know directly when he spots something you should be aware of. (Playing gotcha is sort of his job, so don't take it too hard...)
Finally, I am thrilled to welcome several new contributing editors:
Nina Burleigh, the author of five nonfiction books, including a recent bestseller "The Fatal Gift of Beauty," is writing our new column on women's issues, "The Bombshell."
Ryan Holiday, author of the recent flim-flam expose Trust Me, I'm Lying, is writing "Off the Media."
Cynthia Cotts, the former Press Clips columnist at the Village Voice, will be contributing occasional freelance features and blog posts on the media beat.
And George Gurley, who needs no introduction, will be contributing longer features for us. Sometimes MUCH longer...
Meanwhile, thanks to everyone for all your excellent work in the last few weeks. The paper has been a real pleasure to read, and the websites are aflame. As Hanas pointed out, we are poised to break our monthly traffic record—really a remarkable achievement given that we currently have several vacant seats in the newsroom. Those positions will be filled in due time! Meanwhile please continue to to send interested candidates my way.
More news to come...