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Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Barnes’

New Wine Magazine Features WSJ, Bon Appétit Alums

There’s a new New York-based wine magazine to savor. Grape Collective is officially launching today and features a number of very recognizable food and wine journalism names.

DorothyJGaiter

Former Wall Street Journal wine columnist Dorothy J. Gaiter, who wrote for the paper from 1998 to 2010 and conceived her “Tastings” column there with husband John Brecher, is senior editor. She starts things off with an evaluation of Lionel Osmin Villa’s 2012 La Vie en Rose rosé.

Meanwhile, former Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Barbara Fairchild has joined Grape Collective as travel and restaurant editor. She reviews a restaurant in Healdsburg, a more laid back portion of Northern California wine country:

Healdsburg does have its share of posh spots to stay like the Relais & Chateaux Hotel Les Mars, the Hotel Healdsburg, historic Madrona Manor and romantic comfortable B&Bs like the Belle de Jour Inn…

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Mediabistro Course

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Observer Media Group Names Michael Albanese President

The Observer Media Group, parent of The New York Observer, has named Michael Albanese its new president. The New York Post reports that Albanese, the former publisher of Spin, resigned from the magazine Monday.

Albanese had been with Spin since 2006.

Albanese takes over for Christopher Barnes, who left Observer Media in the beginning of August. Elizabeth Spiers also departed the paper at that time.

Elizabeth Spiers Departs The New York Observer [Update]

Elizabeth Spiers (a former Mediabistro editor-in-chief) is leaving The New York Observer. According to the paper, Spiers — who joined as editor in February of last year — is stepping aside to launch a new company, and will remain a part time consultant for the Observer Media Group.

Executive editor Aaron Gell is succeeding Spiers as the Observer’s new editor-in-chief.

“Elizabeth has been a phenomenal editor and manager,” said Jared Kushner, in a statement. “Not only did she bring on a wonderful team, she redesigned the paper and websites, launched a slew of new verticals and web properties, and invigorated the newsroom, all while more than doubling web traffic. I’m grateful for her efforts, and I look forward to seeing what she does next.”

UPDATE:
Christopher Barnes is also leaving. Check out the full internal memo here.

Summer’s Social Swans, Kim Kardashian’s BFF and the Woman Behind Mad Men

1003_mockup.gifWhere else could you possibly find friends of reality stars (Come on, you can’t expect an A-lister sighting every week) and the last vestiges of Cafe Society all in one room? If it’s Wednesday, at Michael’s, of course. I couldn’t even begin to do justice to the head-spinning scene there today, so I’ll just let the roster of what passes for celebrity sightings these days speak for itself.

I was so excited about today’s lunch, because I was meeting the woman responsible for greenlighting one of my favorite shows, Mad MenChristina Wayne has had an amazing career  – she also is responsible for getting Breaking Bad on air — and I found her story fascinating. Had it not been for Christina’s spot-on instincts, Matt Weiner‘s script, which had been floating around for eights years at that point, might not ever have seen the light of day.  The former AMC senior vice-president of scripted series and mini-series is now president of Cineflix Studios and executive producer of the new BBC America series, Copper — but I’m getting ahead of myself.

A born and bred New Yorker who grew up on the Upper East Side, Christina decided to move back after 12 years in Los Angeles for personal reasons in 2005 (“There was no one left to date!”) and after receiving a call from a friend asking if she’d be interested in working with AMC. Up until that point, the network was pretty much airing nothing but old movies. “I had no idea what AMC was. I thought he was talking about the movie theater chain,” said Christina. Back then, the basic cabler was looking to develop scripted content; Christina signed on as a consultant as the net’s “creative voice,”  but didn’t want to tell her screenwriter friends since, at the time, working in television seemed like a step down and “an embarrassment.”

Diane Clehane and Christina Wayne
Diane Clehane and Christina Wayne

She started by calling everyone she knew in L.A. and wound up with the script for Broken Trail, a huge hit starring Robert Duvall that got the greenlight in eight days. When she read the script for Mad Men on a flight back from Los Angeles, she knew she had something special. AMC wasn’t able to get a studio to pick it up, so the pilot was self-financed for $3.3 million and the rest, as they say, is television history. Without a huge marketing budget, Christina attributes a lot of Mad Men‘s buzz to the nonstop coverage it received in The New York Times who covered the show from every angle possible. “The show was their lovechild,” she said. And still is, I’d say.

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The New York Observer to Post a Profit for the First Time

(Via Capital New York)

The New York Observer Media Group, which at one time was rumored to be losing about $5 million a year, is expecting a profit this year. Christopher Barnes, the Observer Media Group’s President, told the New York Post, “We’re expecting a small profit in 2011 and a more substantial one in 2012.”

Apparently the first ever journey into the black is all thanks to the digital push that was ushered in by Jared Kushner, and then mastered by Elizabeth Spiers, the Editor-in-Chief of the New York Observer. Maybe that’s why the Observer is expanding its editorial operations — things are truly going great there.

Of course not everyone is buying Barnes’ rosy outlook.

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The New York Observer Changing to Broadsheet

Back in 2007 (random sad fact about 2007: Avril Lavigne’s The Best Damn Thing was the top-selling album worldwide) the New York Observer switched from a broadsheet paper to its current tabloid format.

However, according to the Observer Media Group’s president, Christopher Barnes, the days of the tabloid layout are numbered. The Observer will be switching to a mini-broadsheet layout (like The Wall Street Journal) beginning August 24.

Elizabeth Spiers, the paper’s Editor-in-Chief, said of the change, “We’re keeping the classic Observer design elements but moving to a format that has a bit more of a premium feel.” Some additional details:

The newspaper will be divided into two sections; the second will be focused on fine arts. There will be a full page ad unit on the back cover of the second section and blue chip ads will run in 1/6 page units on pages 2 and 3.

FishbowlNY applauds the move – a mini-broadsheet does have a better look to it than the tabloid format. And don’t worry, the Observer will still be pink. Or salmon. Whatever.

The New York Observer Observed

The New York Observer had a bit of good news today, but  Dylan Byers, writing for Adweek, is raining on that parade.  He says that Christopher Barnes – aided by the unwavering confidence Jared Kushner has in him – is killing the newspaper.

Byers gets scathing quotes from several former Observer staffers, going from bad – “He’s a used car salesman” – to worse – “He would also mock employees who had been hired for painfully low salaries.”

Barnes’ main mistake, aside from apparently coming off like an overall jerk to employees, is that he has abandoned the paper’s longstanding journalistic niche, in favor of focusing on sales. Of course this approach has brought on a slew of editorial changes:

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Harleen Kahlon Says Goodbye To The New York Observer

Harleen Kahlon is not sure where she will be starting her new year yet but one thing is for sure — it won’t be at The New York Observer.  After joining as general manager of online operations in mid-June, Kahlon is expected to hand the Observer her walking papers.  According to Amy Wicks of WWD, sources refer to the recent trend of departures from the paper as a “revolving door” and credit Kahlon’s exit to conflicts with president Christopher Barnes over the Observer’s digital agenda.

Kahlon leaves in a critical time for the digital department as the Observer is working on a website redesign.

Breaking: Layoffs At The Observer

observer.pngEarlier this week, The New York Observer said good-bye to editor Peter Kaplan, and now there are rumors swirling that more staffers are heading out the door.

Daily Intel has a report that newly appointed editor-in-chief Tom McGeveran is handing out pink slips today, while Gawker has a tentative list of those who are rumored to be victims of the axe, including Matt Haber, Spencer Morgan, Doree Shafrir, Chris Shott, Peter Stevenson and John Vorwald.

We’re going to keep on this story as it develops but drop us a line or leave us a note in the comments if you hear anything.

Update: Doree Shafrir reposted the Gawker item on her Twitter feed basically confirming the whole mess. Sad times!

Another update: Haber tells us through his Observer email “All’s well.”

More: The New York Times Media Decoder blog has more information about the bloodbath, revealing that a bulk of the layoffs came from the newsroom, one third of which got the axe.

“Reducing the size of our reporting staff was not an easy decision to make,” Christopher Barnes, president of the Observer Media Group, told the Times in a written statement. “Unfortunately, the New York Observer is not immune to the economic pressures being felt industry-wide. The reality is we had to cut back in order to move forward.”