Four months after graduating from Yale, Chris Rovzar ’03 was working long days as an editorial assistant at the New York Sun. To relax, he would read gossip and culture blogs and newspapers, such as Gawker and Page Six. And then, he said, it dawned on him: Why wouldn’t he want to work at a place like that?
Now Rovzar does. A senior editor of New York Magazine’s Daily Intel blog, he writes posts on any given day about the economic crisis, presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s tax plan, the New York Knicks and “Gossip Girl” (which the blog dutifully chronicles each week, calling it the “Greatest Show of Our Time”).
Before moving to the blog, Rovzar worked as a reporter for New York Daily News, where he worked for the Rush & Molloy gossip column and wrote features. He also studied in Spain on a Fulbright scholarship in 2006.
Rovzar, who got his start in journalism as a scene editor, spoke recently to the News about blogging, Gawker, the presidential race and, of course, “Gossip Girl.”
QWhat do you like about blogging?
AI like that I get to laugh all day. We try to keep it light-hearted even though we write about serious stuff. I’m entertaining people when they are at their desks.
QYou’ve been blogged about on Gawker. What’s that like?
AYou know, it’s fine. I know a lot of the people who write Gawker and some people who have written for it in the past are some of my best friends, so people tend to write about people they know. I think people who get offended who get a blog like Gawker are people who are older or out of touch with blog culture, so they don’t realize there is no malice there.
QHow do you find the humor in topics like the economic crisis?
AThere’s always something to laugh about in any given story. Every story about the economic crisis, or every story about some politician or politics, has people in it. You can make John McCain, or Hank Paulson, or Ben Bernanke, or Sarah Palin or Barack Obama or whoever, you know, Mayor Mike Bloomberg into a persona. So we try to treat those people, not as if they are very distant, faraway people who we would never know, but we try treat them as though they are our friends. They are people that we can tease. We know their idiosyncrasies.
QSarah Palin seems to have worked wonders for blogging culture.
AThere’s immediate feedback as to what stories people are interested in, and the truth of the matter is people are obsessed with Sarah Palin. I thought it would die down the first month after she got picked. People cannot get enough of her. Occasionally there are things that happen, that we write about, that we pick up on that people just love reading about, and of course we want to give our readers what they want. Sarah Palin happens to be someone whom there is a whole wealth of things to write about. We write more about Obama and McCain, but we write about Palin way more than we write about Joe Biden, just because she’s 10 times more interesting.
QWhy is “Gossip Girl” the “Greatest Show of Our Time?”
AI think the short answer is it’s campier than “90210,” but the acting is at once better, the writing is sharper, and, even though it’s completely ridiculous, it’s just super fun to watch. You know how “Sex and the City” sort of created this world where a woman who has a low-paying freelance writing job can have the most fabulous clothes, and she can drink fishbowl-size margaritas and she never has to work?
There’s just this fantasy world of how 30-something women are living that nobody could actually live. That’s the way “Gossip Girl” treats high school. No matter what you’ve done, certain experiences in high school are universal. So everyone can look back and say ‘Oh my gosh, there was that mean girl,’ ‘Oh my gosh, I was that nerd,’ ‘Oh there was that really hot guy who was stupid but everyone loved him.’ It’s all so recognizable. It doesn’t matter. There are no stakes. They are kids. They are going to grow up, it will all be fine, no one’s going to die. It still manages to get a heightened sense of drama. It’s like “Cruel Intentions,” except for “Gossip Girl” is funny.