Welcome to the 35th “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.
This Business of Online Media
+ Arianna Huffington’s departure from The Huffington Post seemed too chill to be true, at least the way it was initially announced — Huffington was simply ready to move on, and had a new wellness-based media project to dig into. Last week Vanity Fair published a two-part feature on the REAL TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY of The Huffington Post, which suggests a lot of tension between the publication’s founder and its staff. The biggest and most frequent issue seems to be Huffington prioritizing her friends’ reputations over accurate quality journalism, but the part of the story that interested me more was the business stuff — like that HuffPo Live turned out to be a massive failure, that they’re having a tough time pivoting after building an empire on SEO journalism (HuffPo’s tagging policies are REDIC) and that they’re still struggling for financial viability. It’ll be interesting to see what the next chapter is for The Huffington Post, a site I admittedly employ adblockers to view because otherwise my browser explodes. And of course I now have to check it daily, because Donald Trump.
+ Y’all know how much I love transparency about financials from indie websites, right? It’s just so damn important, that we’re all open about how we do the work we do and the fact that we wouldn’t be able to do it without help — and it’s particularly relevant to the work we do here, because those disclosures (previously: Nicole Cliffe on how her husband’s lucrative job kept The Toast alive) generally involve assistance from partners, which is tough for queer women’s publications ’cause women make less money than men do, meaning we’re less likely to have partners who can support us while we chase our dreams. (And even so, we wouldn’t be here if my family didn’t provide me with a safety net a lot of women don’t have.) This week in “audiences are hostile to nearly every kind of income digital media companies can generate” and “the only reason we can afford to do this is because we both have partners at home who can support us if we go three months between big checks”: the ladies of The Financial Diet on Unfunny Things I’ve Realized As a Not-Rich Woman Starting a Media Company.
+ Gawker Media’s relationship with Univision is off to a rocky start after the Univision Board voted to remove six posts from the Gawker Media archives that are “currently the subject of active litigation against Gawker Media,” which goes against the very deeply engrained philosophies of Gawker Media. Apparently some writers are considering a walkout. Meanwhile, Univision remains confident that they’re on the way to being America’s #1 Digitial News company.
+ Newsrooms are getting more diverse but not diverse enough. Poytner has tips on an intentional and inclusive journalism conference.
+ Will we still want to buy Blue Apron if we’re not hearing directly from the podcast hosts about what they had for dinner last week?
+ THIS LOOKS JUST LIKE OUR OFFICE. (JK we don’t have an office.)
+ “I’ve been an online journalist for 20 years—and still, you’ll have to pry my newspaper from my cold dying hands.” (I kinda agree)
+ Card Stacks were Vox Media’s BIG IDEA — but the stacks haven’t accomplished what they’d hoped, which isn’t necessarily a problem.
+The Billfold talks to Gaby Dunn about my new favorite podcast, Bad With Money With Gaby Dunn.
The End Times
+ So maybe AdBlock Plus’s endgame all along has been this: they are now selling “acceptable ads” to sites whose ads keep getting blocked.
+ Facebook is so nice they care about you so much and they want to help you make ad dollars through the parts of their platform that are by design far more friendly to well-funded sites than indies. It’s a win-win in which Facebook wins on both ends.