Monday, April 22, 2024

Surprise Election Winner: Jared Kushner’s New York Observer Soared in Traffic with Trump Connection


Here’s the media story I didn’t expect: Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and adviser of Donald Trump, owns the New York Observer. (Full disclosure: Occasionally, I write for the paper.)

Well, it seems that under editor Ken Kurson and CEO Joseph Meyer, the Observer’s website has gone crazy over the last year. I was slipped a couple of internal memos this week that show the Observer’s ranking jumped from 3,695 in February 2013 to 275, according to Quantcast.

That’s sort of remarkable. Was it because of the Trump connection? Were Trump enthusiasts suddenly reading the I don’t know.

Kurson wrote in a memo to the staff this morning: “We’ve all been reading the dismal news about the business of print. Yesterday, the CEO of the WSJ/NYPost described the sudden evaporation of print advertising as “mayhem in the market.” We have worked so hard to transition to a digital-first posture. Seeing this number — TWO SEVENTY FIVE — just as this unending campaign finally reaches the finish line has somehow provided a poetic symmetry to a company that’s come a very long way in four years.”

Congrats– because anything that thrives in journalism right now has to be celebrated. Kurson was always a Trump supporter. His role as editor in chief of the Observer, owned by Trump’s son-in-law, had to have been tricky. But he managed to run the Observer fairly– it was far less partisan, say, than the New York Post. And the non political part of the paper (or website) is a lively and engaging read at all times.  I think my late friend, Peter Kaplan, whom Kurson succeeded, would be pleased that the paper has survived.

I call it good news on a day when there is little to go around.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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