Monday, July 31, 2006

Duck Says: "I'll Take the Pittsburgh Courier for $2 Million"

Forget about trying to break stories and land a plum reporter gig.

How about being able to say "I own the New York Observer"?

Jared Kushner is 25, a 2003 Harvard graduate, currently a law student at NYU, and now, the proud papa of a newspaper. He reportedly purchased a majority stake in the publication for $10 million.

It's not like he didn't already have an impressive resume. Kusher makes his millions as a a real-estate exec. He began buying and rehabilitating properties when he was 19, according to his bio on the Observer website. He's been involved with his father's real estate firm, Kushner Companies, and, in his own venture, created a group of investors that is planning to buy 20 buildings in Manhattan.

But becoming a publisher is Jared's first foray into journalism.

Peter Kaplan, editor of the Observer, said he's not apprehensive about Kushner's lack of experience or his youth. "His 25-ness is a huge asset," said Kaplan to the NYT. "He is not weighed down by the debris of conventional wisdom.”

Kushner has extolled the Observer in interviews with New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. But from jump, he asserted that his editorial involvement in the paper would be nil. His concern, he says, lies with the Observer's financial performace. (The paper hasn't turned a profit since its inception in 1987.) Kushner told the NYT: "It is up to the editors and reporters to decide what should be in the paper. The headline in everything we do should be integrity."

My guess is that Kushner is dropping buzzwords like integrity and pledging to steer clear of any editorial involvement partly because of his father, Charles Kushner. The elder Kushner, who was also in real estate and was a fundraiser for the Democratic Party, is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for tax evasion, illegal fundraising and tampering with witnesses.

Said Jared about his dad: “I love my father, but I have worked to develop a separate and distinct identity...."

The younger Kushner has said that his goals for the paper include building resources in order to cover more news beats, marketing the brand name of the Observer and increasing online traffic to the paper's site. In an e-mail to Observer staff, Kusher said he is excited about learning from and working together with them to create "first-rate journalism."

Said Kushner, "I look forward together to watching the media revolution from a shared front seat."

(Said Duck: "I look forward to looking at your cutie-patootie picture."

...sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Posted by Veronica Marché at 11:11 AM | link

Read or Post a Comment

I always thought the Observer to pack a punch equivalent to that of a junior varsity New Yorker. It'll be interesting to see what changes the guy makes. But here's how smart he is: The paper will probably start turning a profit because of all of his other high profile business ventures. New York loves a rich, good looking white boy wonder. As does Duck. Good post.

Posted by Blogger D. Sands @ 9:14 PM, July 31, 2006 #
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