Last night Gawker founder Nick Denton hosted a little soiree at his Soho pad to welcome the American staff of the Guardian who recently moved their office to the neighborhood. And what is a party without a photo booth and a few boldfaced media names? We didn't save you any tea sandwiches, but you can at least enjoy the pictures.
In your warming Monday media column: Jacob Weisberg points out that The Daily has no clothes, CBS is still wooing Katie Couric, rumors of Gannett getting rid of USA Today, Arianna Huffington stiffs a high school reporter, Dan Le Batard hammers a word stake in Deadspin's black heart, and alpacas attack.
If you're a banker facing the very dire prospect of having your salary capped at $500,000 a year, it probably seems as if the absolute nadir has been reached. Sadly, though, there's yet a further spiritual level to sink to: the one where Slate's Jacob Weisberg comes riding in on his chariot to defend your honor with an earnest editorial.
♦ The opening of Elizabeth Peyton's New Museum exhibition on Tuesday was full of her friends and fans like Marc Jacobs (with boyfriend Lorenzo Martone, left), Glenn O'Brien, Amy Astley, Peter Brant and Stephanie Seymour, Hope Atherton, Cecily Brown, Rachel Feinstein and John Currin, Alex Katz, Kiki Smith, Gavin Brown, Barbara Gladstone, Debbie Harry, and Thelma Golden. [The Daily, PMc]
Is it awful or wonderful that Slate launched its business website The Big Money the same day three large Wall Street institutions were in various stages of freefall? Characteristically, Slate takes the contrarian view: It's wonderful! Tons of news to cover! They'll "tap into people's... anxiety about the economy!" The joys of financial fearmongering aside, the implosion of financial services does tend to call into question how many more ads the site can sell to the likes of American Express. Also, two words: Portfolio magazine. Editor James Ledbetter (recently of CNNMoney.com) still isn't daunted:
Somewhere out there is a budding female public intellectual destined to marry an embarrassingly oversharey lifestyle magazine editor1 who dribbles out in monthly editor's letters the grotesquely bourgeois details of their life, providing endless gossip fodder to media workers frustrated in their own loveless (if not as literal!) marriages to the consumerism bankrolling their profession. Until then, however, we will have to be satisfied with the likes former Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner, whose wife shares their home life with the readers of the New York Times—and smartypants Jacob Weisberg. The Slate group editor sleeps on a horsehair mattress covered in "beautiful heavy linen" and sheets from a special shop in London, all of which we know because his wife, Domino editor-in-chief Deborah Needleman, told Fashion Week Daily in excruciating detail (click thumb for a closeup) about the marital bed. By the way, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell introduced the couple! (Hey Gladwell, anyone ever tell you you were a "connector"?)
Jacob Weisberg is stepping aside as the editor of Slate... OR IS HE? Technically, sure, he's ceding the reins after six years to deputy David Plotz, but if Slate has taught us anything, it is to question blatantly-obvious facts just for the hell of it. And if one does that, one discovers Weisberg isn't stepping down at all, he's stepping up, to run something terrifying called the Slate Group, which will be in charge of Slate and various spinoffs, including a new business site called The Big Money. Weisberg compares Slate Group to Time Inc., which of course has not only the flagship newsmagazines but also celebrity, business and sports titles, as well. It might seem natural for these new spinoffs to be, say, blogs, but of course Slate Group isn't using that word, because it's too popular. Instead the site is looking at launching "tools or news aggregators." [Times]
The significance of holding last night's party to celebrate the New York Observer and its new website at the Four Seasons restaurant was intentional, obvious, and not at all lost on anyone. Despite its recent Frank Bruni demotion to two New York Times stars, the restaurant remains the symbolic and probably actual center of New York old-guard media power. After so many years of playing gadfly to the media, politics, and real estate elite of this city, the Observer and its boy-owner and his advisers chose to make a very specific sort of statement.
At a gathering for 49 Nobel Prize winners in 1962, President Kennedy remarked that "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone." All well and good, but this January 29th will see the greatest assemblage of magazine genius ever gathered together in the same room - with the possible exception of when Art Cooper had that fatal meal with Dave Zinczenko. That's right, it's MediaBistro's "Editors on Truth Serum — The New Rules of Success Now," a panel discussion at Chinatown Brasserie, starring such luminaries as Tom Foster (Men's Journal), Brandon Holley (Jane), Stacy Morrison (Redbook), Susie Schulz (CosmoGirl!), Richard Story (Departures), and Jake "Shake 'n Bake" Weisberg (Slate). As 'bistro Boa-in-Chief Laurel Touby puts it,