Jul 13, 2021 - Economy

Exclusive: Observer relaunching with new editor-in-chief

Credit: Meg Marco

The Observer, formerly the New York Observer, plans to relaunch in the next few months with a new editor-in-chief, Axios has learned.

Details: Meg Marco, most recently a senior editor at ProPublica, has been hired to help the outlet reclaim its identity as a chronicler of powerful people and influence.

  • Marco, who has also served as an editor at Axios and the Wall Street Journal, will be responsible for hiring a team to cover issues such as business media, arts and real estate. Observer is currently looking for a business editor.
  • The digital-only company is looking to hire around 8 people this year. In editorial, it's looking to bring on new reporters as well as journalists who specialize in video and podcasts.
  • Such investments would nearly double its current staff size of 10. While the company is small, it was able to withstand the pandemic without having to make major structural changes to its business or conduct layoffs.
  • Sources say one of the things being considered at the company is a possible redesign in the coming months.

The big picture: Like many smaller print publications, the Observer has struggled to find its footing in the digital era.

  • Although sources say it's profitable, insiders concede that the outlet has struggled to have the same influence over national coverage of things like arts, entertainment and money as it did when it focused solely on New York power.

Catch up quick: Observer, formerly the New York Observer, went digital-only in 2016. It was formerly run by Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who stepped down as publisher in 2017.

  • Upon stepping down, Kushner transferred ownership of the publication into a family trust. His brother-in-law Joseph Meyer was named publisher and CEO.
  • In 2019, Meyer hired Michael Rose to replace him as CEO of Observer Media. Meyer became chairman of Observer Media, the parent company to Observer and its sister company, Commercial Observer, a B2B real estate site.
  • Kushner bought The Observer in 2006 for $10 million.

What's next: Marco will begin at the company this week.

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