|I’m not the nostalgic type, but I admit I have been feeling sentimental of late. As I was reading Matt Belloni’s elegantly acerbic piece on the latest masterstroke of Hollywood M&A, Parlez-Vous CAA, I couldn’t help but remember our earliest conversations about the business that would become Puck—a memorable lunch, years ago, at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills, and another, some months later, at the Lambs Club in Midtown. The zeal and flourish with which Matt described the various legal definitions of the participation pool, among other elements of Hollywood dealmaking, was profound and mind-blowing, and I realized instantly that I needed to find a way to work with him.
I was similarly reflective as I was going through Julia Ioffe’s latest superb work, The “Coup Belt” & a New Cold War—thinking all the way back to the very first time I pitched her on Puck, sitting outdoors at a café in and around Adams Morgan. Ditto Dylan Byers’ latest blockbuster, Iger’s ESPN Game of Chicken: I instantly summoned the memory, a decade ago, when a young Dylan broke the gangbusters news about major executive friction at the top of The New York Times while he was a young star at Politico. I was an editor at the Times back then, and I can assure you that nobody worked for days after the piece dropped. All we did was gossip about the story, and what Dylan might be working on next.
Indeed, I’ve had a version of this moment as I edited, read through, or tweaked a headline here and there with all of our writers: I can tell you, pretty much day and date, when I first had the pleasure of experiencing their work, where and when we first met, and my most prized moments from our years of collaboration. To wit: the first time I read Bill Cohan’s epic, Carlos Watson Has a Cold, or Teddy Schleifer’s in-person piece on his visit with S.B.F., The Only Living Boy in Palo Alto. I could go on—like when Tina Nguyen introduced the culture to Casey DeSantis in Ronny & Nancy of Tallahassee or when Tara Palmeri unveiled the quiet power of Jeff Roe. (Ok, I really could go on…)
I’ve been thinking about all this, of course, because Puck will celebrate its second anniversary on Wednesday. Yes, we’re two! And we’re marking the occasion by doubling down on everything that makes us, well, us—more genre-defining journalism by a generationally talented fleet of peerless storytellers. We’ll also be running an annual sale so that you can encourage your friends to join our community. Click here for more information.
Media businesses, after all, are people businesses. And we’ve built Puck around the unique talents of a team of extraordinary reporters who, as I’ve noted before, also happen to be my business partners. We’re not only endeavoring to create an inimitable cultural product—a platform where you can reliably expect to eavesdrop on the most privileged inner sanctums—but we’re also working to innovate upon the business model of journalism, one where the creators are in the center of the equation. Indeed, we’ve all been a part of plenty of genetically modified media companies. If we want to help course-correct our industry, we realized it would take all of us working together.
I recognize that we can get a little meta here at Puck, where the change in our own industry has conditioned us to recognize that pattern in the worlds that we cover. To that end, if you have any extra time this weekend, I’d like to turn your attention to two deeply fascinating stories that we’ve recently published. In A Legal Coda to the #MeToo Era, Puck’s jurisprudential ace Eriq Gardner details the latest stunning leitmotif of the post-cancellation era. And in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, the great Lauren Sherman details the latest iteration of the fashion industry’s annual celebration of itself as it shape-shifts away from the pomp and circumstance that defined it for a generation and toward… a great unknown.
As you well know by now, these are the stories of our time, and precisely what you should expect from us here at Puck.