As the sad news of the passing at age 59 from cancer of Peter Kaplan spread Friday, current Observer senior editor Colin Campbell suggested “there’s no better source on Mr. Kaplan than the editor himself.” And so, Campbell for his first piece chose to republish Kaplan’s 2008 tribute to New York magazine founder Clay Felker.
In July 2007, when I was a writer for Gawker, I got an email from Nikki Finke that said in the subject line: “Peter Kaplan called and asked who to hire as his media writer/editor. I said you.” And so a few days later I got coffee with Peter at Le Pain Quotidien on 19th Street between Park and Broadway, just down the block from the old Observer offices, and a few weeks later, after several back-and-forths about what the job was (I was to be writing about “ideas”) and how much money I would be making (not very much), I was hired.
Shafrir’s colleague Ben Smith tweeted that perhaps “the best Kaplan profile ever” was a 2010 Slate article about a pair of “wise” and “cranky” fake Kaplan Twitter feeds, mainly because of the graceful way their target dealt with the streams. All in all, November 29, 2013 will be remembered as a very black Friday for members of New York’s close-knit media community. RIP.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Cranky Kaplan and Wise Kaplan Unmasked
- The Winters of Robin Williams' Circus Tent
- The Poetry of Philip Seymour Hoffman
- RIP: LIFE Magazine Photographer Ralph Morse
- RIP: Lester Bernstein