Former Observer Eds Benson and McGeveran Brewing ‘Capital'


Ever since Tom McGeveran and his compatriot Josh Benson left the Observer last winter, explaining that they were “moving on to something new,” we’ve been wondering what they were working on. Last Friday Business Insider reported that their media editor, Gillian Reagan, had been poached by Benson and McGeveran for their new project. This is no surprise: At the Observer, McGeveran and Benson were known for nurturing the paper’s young talent (which, reliably, would go on to find work at bigger newspapers and magazines). Reagan was one such acolyte. So what are those guys up to?

We hear that the pair have been assembling backers for the past several months for an online media venture they’re calling “Capital.” They’ll launch a beta version in the coming weeks, starting at first only with cultural coverage — they’ve already got writers lined up for essays, reviews, and reported features — which will be followed up by neighborhood pieces, lifestyle features, and politics and media coverage (and the overlap thereof). It will be focused on New York, and fashioned around its contributors. Sort of like a beefed-up version of the Atlantic’s “Voices” section, each writer will have his or her own space on the website to play with. We hear they’ve also been talking to illustrators to keep art as a regular news and commentary feature.

On the whole, our people say the pair is hoping Capital will feel not like a legacy news organization, but will contain magazine-quality journalism in a continuous format, accessible through a Politico-like homepage portal that brings together all their areas of coverage. Reagan is coming onboard first as a strategist — writing about media for the site but simultaneously acting as a sort of social media editor as it grows. McGeveran and Benson wouldn’t comment on other hires they’ve made, but we hear they’ve lined up the kind of young name writers you’d expect from a couple of Observer expats — think contributors to the Awl, magazine writers, and New York bloggers of note.