Clay Felker, New York Founding Editor, Passes Away

felker080627_250.jpgClay Felker, founder of New York, passed away this morning. At New York, which he started in 1968, the native Missourian championed the careers of many great journalists including his friend Tom Wolfe. Before founding New York, he worked at Life, Time, Esquire and the New York Herald Tribune.

Although Felker’s post-New York career was marked by missteps at the Daily News, U.S. News & World Report, and Manhattan Inc., his legacy remains strong. We’ll let Kurt Andersen do the honors:

Clay Felker’s own rock stardom as a media pioneer, however, endures. It doesn’t matter that he did his great, seminal work way back when. So did Bob Dylan and Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney. During the seventies and eighties, the Times (and much of the rest of mainstream media) thoroughly Felkerized itself. Practically every species of insidery, smart-ass Web journalism carries bits of his DNA. He permanently transformed his white-hot corner of the world. And on these very pages, fresh chapters of his novel about the city are still being published every week.

For further reading, there’s Michael Wolff’s tribute to New York on occasion of its 35th anniversary.

UPDATE: After the jump, New York editor-in-chief Adam Moss’ statement about Felker’s passing.


“American journalism would not be what it is today without Clay Felker, and neither would New York City. Those of us lucky enough to work in the house that he built are reminded everyday of the depth of his genius. He created a kind of magazine that had never been seen before, told a kind of story that had never been told. Nobody I have ever met in this business was as passionate a champion of talent, as relentlessly curious, or as successful in getting the world inside his head onto the magazine page. He changed the way we look at this city, and, in that sense, the way we live in it. All of us who practice journalism today carry Clay’s legacy into everything we do, and we will never do it even half as well.”