Former ‘Observer’ editor Aaron Gell, surprised by news of his replacement, still deciding whether to stay on as No. 2

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The New York Observer. ()
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There was one unanswered question in today's news that Ken Kurson has replaced Aaron Gell as editor-in-chief of The New York Observer: Whether or not Gell will remain at the paper as "executive editor."

The answer? Gell's still thinking about it, he told Capital when reached for comment.

"It's really too soon to say what I'll do next," he said, "but for now I'm happy to stick around and keep trying to put out the best paper and blogs we can."

Gell declined to comment further about Kurson's appointment, which insiders we spoke with believe was as much a surprise to Gell as it was to the rest of the staff.

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Several sources wrote in to push back on the suggestion that Gell was more invested in the Observer print edition than its website and affiliated blogs. He in fact grew traffic even as the paper's headcount was diminished, they said.

"For what it's worth, our web numbers hit record highs under Aaron, averaging 2.5 million, with a record 3.2 in November," one told us.

People in the Observer building said Kurson and Gell were already in a meeting this afternoon.

Kurson is expected to address the newsroom at 4 p.m.