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Slate, now 20 years old, reflects on the value of taking the long view and not chasing digital media trends
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April 18, 2012, 3:25 p.m.
LINK: gawker.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   April 18, 2012

Gawker is rebooting its commenting system and boss Nick Denton took some arrows in the comments section on its final day of existence yesterday. Perhaps most interesting is Nick’s update on editor A.J. Daulerio’s on-day/off-day editorial model Andrew wrote about last month.

Under AJ, writers have been allowed off diary to write longer pieces. I was nervous that they’d use that freedom for journalistic self-indulgence. But it’s produced some excellent work — and hasn’t hurt the audience at all. Reasonable people can disagree. But I’m very happy with the site, its writers and editors — and I’m looking forward to a more collaborative relationship between them and the readers.

Lots of other interesting give-and-take with Nick on how he sees the site’s commenters and its writers. Love this on the Gawker Media’s multi-site branding:

There were 18 Gawker sites launched. Only the eight strongest survive, the others having been sold off or merged in. The answer is in part technical. Internet advertising is bought manually. At least the expensive kind. And media buyers look at a list of large sites that meet their requirements. They don’t tend to pay full price for inventory on niche sites. Dumb, yes, I know. But that’s the way it goes.

But readers too only have the brain space for a few media brands, fewer than you’d think. That might be changing now a bit as Facebook brings something akin to a news reader to many more people than the old RSS readers did. But we’re doing well if just *one* of our brands makes a reader’s top dozen internet destination. So we need to focus our energies and ensure that each of our properties satisfies its target audience’s broader interests. Hence Deadspin’s unorthodox parenting column, Dadspin. Or Hamilton Nolan’s fitness column on Gawker.

In fact, if anything, the pressure is to consolidate even further. We compete against properties like Huffington Post. They put all their effort behind one single brand rather than eight. That’s an easier proposition to communicate — both to advertisers and to many readers who are happy to get their cat videos and divorce advice from the same place.

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