Welcome to the tenth “This Business of Art / Media / Web Fix,” in which I share with you things I read that I loved relating to the work I do here — online media, business, entrepreneurship, women in tech, start-ups, journalism, publishing, management, queer visibility, and so forth. You can expect this sucker to drop every-other Wednesday.
This Business of Online Media
+ The Daily Mail and Mariah Carey are among the 17 investors who pooled together $2 million dollars to buy teeny-bopper rag Tiger Beat and revamp it. Digiday reports that “The plan is to turn the print magazine into a media company that spans television, radio, live events and even film.” The Daily Mail also recently purchased Elite Daily, another publication with a less-than-spectacular reputation.
+ Kids these days aren’t into the impartial tone of most news reporting.
+ Vice’s new channel for women, produced in tandem with Unilever brands, Broadly, will not be a “pink ghetto,” says Tracie to The Guardian. They’ll be talking about abortion and also LGBT rights and stuff. Also, refreshingly: “we’re not going to be doing think pieces where you can write something from your couch about something that’s happening on Twitter.” AMEN.
+ I talked with a BBC reporter today about the decline of online commenting and why Autostraddle is dedicated to maintaining and improving its commenting community despite this decline, as we discussed earlier last month. This is a VERY hot topic right now, and this week’s addition to the conversation is on Medium, where Howard Goldberg talks about why the conversation around disabling comments is a conversation that cuts to the core of online news.
+ How Seven News Organizations Are Using Slack to Work Better and Differently: As a media organization that also uses Slack, this was really interesting, though I’d like to know more about how people handle unpaid accounts (we’d be happy to pay a reasonable membership fee, but the per-member pricing for a team as large as ours is an enormous investment we can’t make right now) and teams that include mostly freelancers and independent contractors working erratic hours.
Matt Galligan is concerned that Slack, for all its benefits, also is destroying our ability to ever carve out downtime. So he has some really fantastic suggestions for how Slack could fix that.
+ Time Inc is getting into the paid content game, noting that people are beginning to realize that “quality content does matter” and that clickbait isn’t just shitty because it’s clickbait, but also ’cause the clickers aren’t engaging with the content enough to benefit an advertiser, anyhow.
+ New media is becoming big media. Comcast’s TV and film unit NBC Universal is closing a deal to invest $250 million in Buzzfeed (giving the company a $1.5 billion valuation) and is negotiating an investment in Vox Media (which’d give Vox an $850 million valuation). From re/code:
People familiar with the proposed deals say they’re part of a new effort from NBCU CEO Steve Burke to bet on digital outlets he thinks can tap into millennial audiences, who are tuning out of NBCU’s TV networks and most others. The idea is that NBCU can get a crash course on digital content and distribution from its new investments — and that those companies may want to distribute some of NBCU’s content as well.
Digiday writes that Vox is poised to be a modern-day Condé Nast, which’s funny ’cause Conde Nast still exists.
+ Apparently Salon.com isn’t respecting the union created by its employees which has led Gawker to ask How Progressive Are The Media Liberals? because “Words are cheap. Unions can cost money. This is where we learn how real all of these nice progressive media bosses really are. If they won’t support their own workers’ union, they were lying the whole time.” However, most of this article is hypothetical, so I’m unsure how Gawker justified including a picture of The Huffington Post in its feature image when HuffPo has yet to do any of the things Gawker says they could do? Is Gawker just fucking with us.
+ The New York Times is revamping how it does mobile ads, which will be timed, apparently, to the “seven moments in a day” that are the most important to readers, such as “morning.” Here’s more: “The New York Times plans to roll out a new ad format in September to its smartphone apps and mobile site in the U.S. that mimics the in-feed placement of the social networks’ mobile ads and applies the publisher’s editorial insight to how they’ll be targeted and what multimedia bells and whistles they’ll feature.”
+ Highlights is going mobile! In collaboration with kids’ learning and entertainment startup Fingerprint, Highlights will be offering free games and other cool sh*t for kids who can’t get enough of Goofus and Gallant in their dentists’ waiting room. The magazine has 2 million print subscribers, which is pretty incredible.
+ Nikki Finke is starting a new site, Hollywood Dementia, with which she intends to “expose the hard truths and gritty reality of showbiz through creative writing. In fiction, I can be more honest than just sticking to facts.”
+ Instagram debuted a new ad platform.
+ Thinking of Quitting Blogging? You are not alone. Dooce talks to ProBlogger about what she did after pulling the plug.
How much do you think the pressure of publishing schedules has contributed to lots of bloggers either burning out or giving up in favour of something less relentless?
I would say from the conversations I’ve had with other people in my situation, the publishing schedule has been 85% of it. Bloggers are on a hamster wheel which is going faster and faster and faster.
I don’t know a single blogger who even enjoys it any more. There was a time when we loved every minute of it, we would gush and say oh my god, we love it. Now we say there’s times when we still love parts of it, but nobody sits down at the end of the day and pours a drink and says “Oh I had the most glorious day”. There are only now parts of it we still enjoy but there’s not that enthusiasm for the whole thing any more.
This Business of Business
+ Techcrunch breaks down what Homejoy’s failure can tell us about the future of the On Demand economy. It addresses a number of issues with hiring inexperienced non-pros to clean the homes of strangers, concluding that “the on-demand model simply doesn’t work for such a uniquely high-touch market.”
+ Today’s White House Demo Day did indeed pay attention to the need to get money into women-founded startups. On that tip, founder of KIND is pledging to invest $3 million in women-led food startups. Fun facts: here are the Top 10 Venture-Backed Female Founders.
This Business of News
+ Jessica Williams and Jon Stewart talk about how they find those morons to say ignorant things on their teevee show. “It’s like ‘Girls Gone Wild’ but they flash us their controversial ideas,” says Jessica Williams.
Businesswoman’s Special: Advice On How To Work Better
+ 25 Famous Women On Being In Charge (The Cut)
+ How to Start Your Day Like a Do Something Bitch (Jezebel)
+ How to Have the Classiest Desk In The Office (The Cut)
+ Four Trends In Home Office Design (Entrepreneur)
Pitches We Are Looking For Right Now:
We are mainly looking for longform at the moment:
- Personal essays (at least 2,500 words) for our upcoming “Thursday Essay” series. (Payment $75 – $150, depending on breadth and how much editing the piece will require)
- Reported feature articles and investigative journalism telling compelling and edgy stories related to the subcultures we address in our editorial mission (queer, feminist, outside culture) — articles you have to go out into the world to research and create. Be sure to include your rates when you pitch.