Just as we were about to leave ASSME’s Swag-a-Thon — a charity event/blowout hosted by the organization representing the “sh*tcanned media elite” — we heard the unmistakable voice of New York Times media columnist David Carr. There had been some confusion over whether Carr would come — something about being lost in a taxi — but clearly he had made it to Fontana’s safely. So, what did he think of the party?
“I would say the people are sort of spicy and interesting,” Carr told FishbowlNY. “I don’t know if you noticed any jerks or a**holes in there? I just got here so maybe they’re lurking.”
Jerks? Of course not! But we did see, as attendee Rex Sorgatz of Fimoculous.com put it, “70 percent of all the people I see at all the other media parties,” including Jeff Bercovici, Foster Kamer, Rachel Sklar, Brian Stelter, Megan Keane of TechSoup, and ASSME-ers (ASSME-ites?) Sheila McClear, Drew Grant and president Aaron Gell.
Photo: (from left to right) Gell, Carr and Grant party on. Photo by Amy Mitten
At the end of the night, Gell said he was “very, very happy” with how the event turned out, brandishing a Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch VIP pass donated by Simon Dumenco. It was just one piece of the swag collected last night, which will then be raffled off with proceeds from $5 tickets at the door going to benefit Housing Works.
ASSME editor McClear was also happy with the party. “Even though some of these losers have jobs, I like talking with unemployed people and commiserating with them,” she said.
It was surprisingly hard to find actual, unemployed people at the party. We talked to a gainfully employed freelancer for Mother Jones, and a correspondent for the Saudi Press Agency before finding out-of-work Erin Rashbaum, formerly of CollegeNews.com. When asked what she thought of the job market, Rashbaum said, “It’s pretty f***ing depressing.”
Others were more optimistic. Stelter who, loyal to the style guidelines at the Times, would not say ASSME’s name out loud, said he hoped the market would pick up, and offered the following advice to recent graduates: “Unlock your Twitter feed! It could be something as simple as that. Be Google-able. If the media is going to be more individualistic in the future, you should do all you can to have your name identified with something, whether it’s fashion coverage or media coverage or Middle East coverage. To be aligned with something is the most important thing,” he said, adding, “Patience is crucial.”
Ex-FishbowlNY-er and current Mediaite editor Sklar offered, “Things were shaken up and things will settle back into place. Talent is talent. What I worry about is the loss of these very structured organizations. I worry about the mentorship for people who are just coming in. I think that’s extremely important.”
—by Anastasia Friscia