So far, a light touch for ‘The New York Observer’ under new editor

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Ken Kurson; some recent Observers. ()
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The Lineup collects the media stories, big and small, that are on our radar each day.

We reported last month that Ken Kurson, latest editor-in-chief of The New York Observer, told the staff in his first meeting that he wanted to make the historically power-broker-focused paper a somewhat less exclusive read, enjoyable beyond the knowing centers of power in the city's political, cultural, media and real-estate business elite that have been its bread and butter since founder Arthur Carter initially started distributing the paper through a network of Fifth and Park Avenue doormen in 1987.

As a result, some past and present employees feared that a radical rebooting of The Observer brand was imminent.

But as Erik Maza reports in today's W.W.D., that hasn't happened—at least not yet:

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Kurson has been on the job a little over a month, the sixth editor in chief in Kushner’s seven years as owner, and though he hasn’t radically changed the salmon-colored weekly, as some staffers feared, he’s stayed plenty busy. He’s steadily written for the print edition, for instance. Besides the occasional party report, the former punk also has been interested in the music business and start-ups.

Nor has there been a house-cleaning, although Kurson's moved around some contributors and hired two new reporters while several other journalists have left The Observer voluntarily.

As for the future:

Kurson said he intends to move slowly to make the paper his own. Like he said at his first staff meeting, he intends to be there for the next 40 years.

“I don’t think it’s in need of a big overhaul,” Kurson said of the Observer. “It’s in need of a reinvigoration of energy. But six months later I might feel different.”

On Capital...

Ben Smith sets off Andrew Sullivan's 'Orwell bells' in Flatiron fracas

In other news...

Steven Brill vs. Chris Hughes. [The Huffington Post]

A secret list of this year's Pulitzer judges has leaked. [Quartz]

Soledad O'Brien's CNN exit is repackaged as a new production deal between her newly formed documentary-production company and the network. [NYT/Media Decoder; see memo below]

Robin Roberts' return to ABC boosted ratings for "Good Morning America." [NYT/Media Decoder]

More on the CNBC-Bloomberg TV booking wars. [NPR]

A top aide to Gov. Cuomo publicly rebuked a former state worker who spoke to the press without authorization. [The New York Times]

Time Inc. staffers have been briefed on "Teredith." [New York Post]

Details has launched a blogger network. [Adweek]

Quote of the day...

At its best, reporting is like science: you form a hypothesis, and you try to prove it. But as importantly—more importantly—you shoot it full of holes to see if any of the wounds are fatal. This, unfortunately, is a lesson that a certain part of the conservative media doesn’t seem to have learned yet.

Alex Koppleman

On Twitter...

On TV...

Huffington Post entertainment editor and Vanity Fair alum Mike Hogan makes Oscar predictions on CBS:

From our inbox...

Here's CNN's full announcement on Soledad O'Brien's new role:

CNN is entering into a production and distribution agreement with critically-acclaimed journalist Soledad O’Brien, whose new production company will produce long-form programming specials for the network it was announced today by Jeff Zucker, president CNN Worldwide. O’Brien’s company, which will launch in June, will produce three long-form programming specials for CNN in 2014. Those specials will include one of the network’s most successful franchises, Black in America. O’Brien’s new production company, Starfish Media Group, in conjunction with CNN, will act as the exclusive worldwide distributor of previous documentaries featuring O’Brien. She will also host the 2013 CNN Black in America documentary, which will air later this year.

“We greatly value Soledad’s experience, and her first-rate storytelling will continue to be an asset to CNN,” said Zucker. “Documentaries and long-form story telling are important to our brand and we’re anticipating more of what we’ve come to expect from her -- riveting content.”

“The new partnership opportunity allows me to focus on what I love to do the most, and to focus on the next stage of my career, owning my own work,” said O’Brien, “At CNN, I am grateful to have been able to tell often underreported stories and confront difficult topics. In the new production venture, I will continue to shine a light on what we all find most interesting about America.”

As anchor and special correspondent for CNN, O’Brien has been integral in hosting and developing the award winning Black in America franchise, one of the network’s most successful international franchises, as well as reporting breaking news from around the globe. In 2011, she won her first Emmy for Crisis in Haiti (Anderson Cooper 360) in the category of Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story – Long Form. O'Brien was part of the coverage teams that earned CNN a George Foster Peabody award for its BP oil spill and Katrina coverage and an Alfred I. duPont Award for its coverage of the Southeast Asia tsunami. The National Association of Black Journalists named O’Brien the Journalist of the Year and Edward R. Murrow Awards lauded her with the RTDNA/UNITY award for Latino in America in 2010.