New York Observer Editor Departs to Launch Content-Commerce Startup

Spiers' New Venture Will Target Health and Wellness

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New York Observer Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Spiers, who oversaw an expansion of the paper's digital properties and redesign of the print publication over the past year and a half, is leaving to launch her own startup, the paper said today.

Elizabeth Spiers
Elizabeth Spiers

The startup will focus on content and commerce in the health and wellness arena, Ms. Spiers told Ad Age . She declined to elaborate on her plans, but content companies have increasingly been focusing on building commerce components into their business plans as they look for ways to decrease their dependence on traditional advertising.

Ms. Spiers, who was the founding editor of Gawker.com, will become a part-time consultant to the Observer's business operations in September. Under her watch, The Observer unveiled a redesign of its 25-year-old weekly publication and launched Betabeat, a tech-news site focused on New York City startups, which has quickly made a name for itself in entrepreneurial circles.

Aaron Gell, executive editor at The Observer, is taking over as interim editor, according to a staff memo from Observer owner Jared Kushner. President Christopher Barnes is also leaving to launch a startup, the memo said.

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