There’s a Nick Denton profile on newsstands today. It’s short on new revelations into the Gawker Media overlord’s life and psyche, but there is one surprising tidbit: the story isn’t in The New Yorker, it’s in New York magazine.
Whispers of New Yorker staff writer Ben McGrath’s forthcoming exploration of all things Nick Denton have been circulating since mid-summer, when he began to hit up many of the writers who have, at one point or another, worked under the blog baron.
But the McGrath piece in The New Yorker has yet to materialize. Michael Idov’s piece in this week’s New York hews close to past glimpses into Denton’s soul. Idov’s profile traces Denton’s climb, from his falling in with a group of journalists deemed the “Young Chiefs” while at Oxford, to his time covering the revolution in Hungary for the Financial Times, to his bid for success in the start-up boom in San Francisco.
The piece bears some resemblance to the 2007 Vanessa Grigoriadis cover piece in the same magazine that explored a past Gawker, one not as firmly entrenched in the media power structure as it is now. Despite the time gap, similarities between the two articles still abound; for instance, Idov mentions in his lede the Soho restaurant Balthazar, the very location that Grigoriadis informed readers was Denton’s “unofficial office.” The most notable difference, perhaps, is the fact that Denton seemed to have actually cooperated with Idov. Grigoriadis quoted mostly from the comments he left on Gawker posts.
Presumably, The New Yorker has (had?) something along these lines in mind for its Denton profile. Hours after it went up on New York‘s website, Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers took to her Tumblr in response.
This is actually a pretty good Nick Denton profile. I almost wonder if it’ll scoop the New Yorker one. (Requisite disclosure: I talked to the NYer reporter, who I like and know, but don’t know well. And I neglected to call Michael Idov back after we missed each other via phone.)
So, if McGrath really did reach out to so many people about Nick Denton, where is this mythical piece? Is it still on the docket, or has it been killed? And now that we have another old-media-versus-new-media article on Denton that ties together his Fleet Street past with his hankering for Balthazar bread, is another profile of the Gawker kingpin really necessary?