Today is my last day posting stuff here. From now on, you can find all my articles and updates on my new website, at http://www.gabrielsherman.com
And you can follow me on Twitter at @gabrielsherman
Thanks so much for staying in touch, would love to hear from any readers!
Today, my New Republic cover story on the rise and fall of the Washington Post is out. My piece looks at the last year of turmoil at the Post, as the new publisher Katharine Weymouth and executive editor Marcus Brauchli try to chart a new path for the paper in this fractured media landscape. To understand the Post‘s current troubles, though, you have to look farther back in history to the tenure of Len Downie, who presided over the newsroom for 17 years. Downie professionalized the Post newsroom, which was erratic after Watergate, but he also failed to ready the Post for the sweeping changes that would give rise to competitors like Politico.
From the piece:
Over the past few months, I have talked to about 50 current and former reporters, editors, Web staffers, and business employees. From these conversations, a picture has emerged of a paper suffering an identity crisis. Its peers seem to have coherent strategies for saving themselves: The New York Times is doubling down on journalism in the belief that it can persevere online as the global newspaper of record; The Wall Street Journal remains the country’s definitive chronicler of business; other large papers have tried to distinguish themselves by burrowing into local issues. But the Post seems to be paralyzed-and trapped. It can’t go completely local because the local news in Washington is, in many respects, national; and its status as the paper of record for national politics is under assault from numerous competitors–competitors it isn’t clear the Post can defeat. Meanwhile, the tense, even hostile, relationship between the print and online divisions hasn’t made the paper’s search for a coherent identity any easier. And so, in a new era for journalism, The Washington Post has yet to figure out what it wants to be. The result has been a lot of lurching–some of it (like salongate) embarrassing, much of it merely ineffective, but almost all of it suggesting a newspaper in disarray.
Read the full piece HERE
I have a New York Magazine piece out that goes inside the New York Times‘ decision to begin charging for online access to the paper’s website. The decision to roll out a paid system for web content caps a year of contentious debate among senior Times executives and newsroom staff. The argument centered on whether the Times risked losing its mass appeal by charging readers online, given the web’s spotty history of extracting subscription fees from fickle online readers. Times digital chief Martin Nisenholtz led the free camp, while executive editor Bill Keller advocated for a paid model.
But now that it appears that web advertising–at least as its currently conceived–will never support the Times‘ ambitious journalism, the paper is seeking to build another source of revenue. The Times appears to have landed on a metered model similar to the Financial Times, where readers can sample a number of free articles before being asked to pony up for unlimited access.
You can read my full piece HERE:
I have a New York piece out on the aftermath of Tishman Speyer’s $5.4 billion purchase of Stuyvesant Town completed in 2006 at the peak of the buble. Three years later, the 80-acre apartment complex is worth just $1.8-$2 billion by most analyst estimates–a 65 percent loss–and Tishman Speyer and their investment partner BlackRock are teetering on default.
From the piece:
Sometime in the next several weeks, Tishman Speyer Properties, the global real-estate empire run by father-son duo Jerry and Rob Speyer, along with their investment partner BlackRock, will default on the mortgage at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. And just as the transaction was the biggest real-estate deal in American history, the collapse is liable to be similarly epic.
In this week’s New York, I have a cover story that goes behind-the-scenes in the battle to control Wall Street comp. Nowhere is this conflict more vividly displayed than the current war between AIG and the Government. AIG’s CEO, the brash, outspoken Robert Benmosche, is fending off efforts by Kenneth R. Feinberg, the Pay Czar, who’s seeking to limit what AIG’s traders can make. The standoff came to a head on November 4, when Benmosche told AIG’s board of directors that he is going to quit. They convinced him to stay, but he’s set to give them his final answer at tomorrow’s board meeting.
From the piece:
After viewing the video, Feinberg left the room, and Benmosche turned to face his board members in private. Benmosche saw himself and his traders as being on the same side as the taxpayers—it infuriated him that Geithner and Congress seemed to see them as the enemy. With Feinberg gone, Benmosche let his anger loose. The pointed exchange he just watched only confirmed in his mind that Feinberg didn’t think he, or his executives, were worth much. He was going to quit. “I’m just about ready to hit the road,” Benmosche said. “Feinberg stabbed me in the back.”
“It wasn’t a moment of anger,” an executive familiar with the exchange later recalled. “It was the last straw of things that were agonizing him.”
Read the full piece HERE
This summer, I profiled Jared Kushner in New York Magazine. Two days after my piece ran, Jared and Ivanka Trump announced their engagement. This past Sunday, Jared married Ivanka at a “star studded” gathering, which according to People, included Russell Crowe, Natalie Portman, Barbara Walters, Regis Philbin and Rudy Giuliani, among others. The couple released an “official” wedding photo. Back in July, Ivanka told me: “Another thing that I think is incredible about him…is every night when he goes home, he works for about an hour and a half and return e-mails he hadn’t had a chance to return before. He’s just very diligent … Even when we first started dating, I’d call him at 6 [a.m.] when I’m getting up, and he’d be awake; he’d definitely be awake when I was going to sleep. And all Sunday he’s in the office.”
The wedding was largely a Trump affair, held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Tomorrow night, Jared’s parents Charlie and Seryl will hold their own party, a lavish gathering for more than 500 guests at the Puck Building, which Charlie bought in 1999 (In 2003, he leased three floors of the building to NYU at below market rates, just when Jared was applying to law school there).
You can read my profile of Jared HERE
And my extended interview with Ivanka HERE
Is being fat a political liability? That’s one of the questions I explore in the current issue of New York, in my a piece on the nasty New Jersey governor’s race between Chris Christie and Jon Corzine. Christie, the former US Attorney for New Jersey, is to put it generously, a large man. Corzine, who has been trailing in the polls until recently, has run a slate of television advertisements that show Christie’s unflattering girth. One ad even goes literal, claiming Christie “threw his weight around” as a federal prosecutor to get out of traffic tickets. From the piece:
Christie lacks the easy charm of a traditional front-runner. For one, he’s fat. In a state where dirty politics competes with the Jets as the favored spectator sport, Christie’s weight has become fodder during a race that has been intensely personal and nasty, at times comically so. “He looks hideous! And unhealthy,” says longtime Democratic state senator Ray Lesniak. “That doesn’t portray the discipline that’s necessary to lead this state.” This summer, the Corzine campaign ran an unflattering television spot that featured slow-motion shots of Christie’s massive gut after members of a focus group responded that they were turned off by his tubby physique. “They chose to run with the ad because people were appalled by his obesity,” one Democrat close to the Corzine campaign told me. In September, another Corzine ad took a more direct approach, saying that Christie “threw his weight around” as prosecutor. Comella says the ad “is clearly part of an overarching strategy to personally attack Chris Christie.” The Corzine campaign denies this. “The ad’s only purpose was to show how Chris Christie used his position as U.S. Attorney to get out of traffic stops,” responds Corzine’s spokesperson, Sean Darcy.
Read the full piece HERE