A story in The Wall Street Journal this morning about the potential sale of the Newark Star-Ledger by the Newhouse family contained this little tidbit down at the bottom: “New York Observer owner Jared Kushner might be interested in buying the Star-Ledger if it were for sale, according to a person familiar with Mr. Kushner’s thinking.” Now that’s interesting. Like the Observer — which was one of the first newspapers to explore allegations of corruption against Jared’s father, Charles Kushner, later sent to jail — the Star-Ledger has spent a lot of ink on the Kushner family’s troubles, and they’ve stayed on them: Just this past June, the paper was one of the only ones that reported the conviction of Charles Kushner’s brother-in-law and close associate Richard Stadtmauer, for instance. So that Young Kushner is considering purchasing this paper does raise the slightest questions about what his “thinking” actually is. Is he exacting some kind of Dubya-like vengeance on people who were mean to his dad?
But that’s not really fair: A lot of papers covered the trials and tribulations of Charles Kushner. Also, Jared tried to buy Newsday recently, so maybe he’s just one of the rare people these days who thinks a newspaper is a good investment. That’s what the folks at the Star-Ledger, who at this point are more worried about their livelihoods than their reporting freedom being curtailed, hope. “We’re going through the various emotions of processing the information,” Josh Margolin, a political reporter who has covered the Kushners and won a Pulitzer for his reporting on New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey’s resignation, told Daily Intel today. “In the last 26 hours, we learned that the paper could be sold, that 200 people may have to leave. The world as we know it could end two months from now.” Regarding the Kushners, he said, “It’s a very odd place to be. You think about the Dolans buying Newsday and the difficulties they may have covering Cablevision. But then, it’s good that a family bought Newsday.” Basically, he concluded, these are the concessions that newspapers, if they want to continue to survive, will have to make. “It would be terrible for the planet if another newspaper ceased to exist. If the Kushner family are the people who want to keep a newspaper alive, if they really want to make a go of it, I don’t see how that could be a bad thing.”