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Maybe publisher cooperation is a path forward for news, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of public media
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May 27, 2015, 11:55 a.m.
Reporting & Production
LINK: www.poynter.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   May 27, 2015

Longform may get all the attention these days, but Racked — the style, shopping, and beauty site that Vox Media acquired when it bought the Curbed.com network in 2013 — is seeing a sweet spot in the middle. The site announced Tuesday that it has hired Meredith Haggerty, formerly the host of the podcast TLDR, as its new reports editor. In the role, she’ll be editing posts that fall between 1,000 and 1,500 words.

The reports editor title isn’t an anomaly at Vox Media; other Vox brands, like The Verge, have people in the same role. The position is a first for Racked, however, and Leslie Price, the site’s editor-in-chief, said it was necessitated by the fact that Racked has delved into more original reporting. The site hired Julia Rubin, formerly the online features editor at Teen Vogue, as its features editor last year. “Over the year, we’ve seen the impact of having an editor of her caliber on our brand and on our traffic. It led us to the point where we really just needed someone to do this kind of text editing” for shorter stories. Rubin, as features editor, will now focus on stories of more than 2,000 words, while Haggerty picks up the mid-length material — Q&As, repeating features like Jolie Kerr’s cleaning column, book and TV reviews, and art and museum coverage.

All the editors out there will be gratified if not surprised to hear that, yes, good editing does lead to higher traffic, at least in Racked’s case. “We want to be telling a story,” Price said, “and in the fashion/beauty space, not a lot of people are doing that work. Voice is incredibly important for us, and the editor [plays a role] there as well, making sure that everything we’re putting up is interesting and compelling.” One such story, about teen retailer Brandy Melville, “did amazingly well” because the brand “came out of nowhere, and is everywhere now, and hadn’t been reported on.” Stories about brands like this, that are “beloved with a certain subset of shoppers and we’re just digging in a little bit more,” pay off in clicks.

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