New ‘Observer’ hires include Faye Penn, Duff McDonald

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The New York Observer. ()
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The New York Observer's masthead is continuing to take shape under the paper's latest editor, Aaron Gell.

The weekly's new managing editor is Emily Anne Epstein, who was most recently a reporter for the Daily Mail's U.S. web operation. She replaces Michael Woodsmall, who is perhaps the first Observer editorial staffer in history to make that rare leap to the business side, where he will be "helping oversee business development for a variety of properties" within Jared Kushner's Observer Media Group portfolio, according to a memo Gell sent to staff Monday morning.

Additionally, Capital has learned that Gell's new executive editor is Faye Penn, formerly an editor at New York magazine and the New York Post. Duff McDonald, meanwhile, has joined as a contributing editor.

The Observer bullpen has been in flux since the August shakeup that saw the departure of previous editor Elizabeth Spiers and former president Christopher Barnes, whose vacancy was recently filled by Mike Albanese, formerly the publisher of Spin.

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The Observer Media Group is still trying to break out of the red, but Kushner said in a staff memo recently that it is "on pace to achieve over 25% revenue growth for 2012."