Observer owner Jared Kushner tried twice to recruit New York Times wunderkind Andrew Ross Sorkin to take over the newspaper, according to New York.
The 28-year-old publisher and the 32-year-old reporter and author of Too Big to Fail talked as recently as last month about the top editor job at the Observer, Gabriel Sherman reports. But Sorkin demurred, and some Observer staffers speculate that talks may have stalled because Sorkin wanted an equity stake in the paper. Kushner settled on former Portfolio editor Kyle Pope, who must be feeling really good right about now, yesterday.
Oddly and without elaboration, Sherman mentions that one reason Sorkin might not have been interested was his "unusual incentive arrangements with the Times." Huh? What's that all about, then?
Another reason Sorkin might not have taken the job is that he would no longer be able to call New York Times editors to ask them for access to documents that he would later use as "source documents" in his book.
While we're on the subject of the Observer, the paper is flogging an Observer Living panel—that would be Kushner's real estate events venture—later this month featuring none other than Ivanka Trump. Come meet the publisher's wife! Placed next to a story on the hiring of Pope, it's starting to look like the New York Observer is a newspaper about the New York Observer.
Update: Presented without comment, this quote from Kushner, reported in a new book about the Observer and flagged by the Awl:
One time there was a reporter working somewhere else, whose stuff I liked, and I said, 'Peter, we should look at hiring him.' And Peter said, 'I would, but he violates the one principle I have: Against the hiring of assholes.'
Another update: A source in the Observer camp objected to our original headline that said Sorkin was Kushner's "first choice" for the gig. Sorkin, this person says, was one of three finalists for the salmon paper's top job along with Pope and Dan Colaruso, a former business editor at the New York Post who along with Pope also worked at Portfolio as its web editor and did a brief stint as the managing editor of Silicon Alley Insider after Condé Nast shuttered the business magazine.