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Oct. 13, 2020, 10:04 a.m.
Business Models

New York Magazine brings the 16-year-old Curbed back to life (but says goodbye to its local sites)

“Curbed, of all the digital properties that were created in the birth of internet journalism, has always felt to us editors like a long-lost sibling.”

When Vox Media bought New York Magazine in September 2019, it was unclear what would become of Curbed, the network of urban design and real estate sites that Vox had acquired in 2013. (Curbed is now pretty much a senior in digital publication years: It was launched in 2004.) Over the next few months, many of Curbed’s individual city sites were shut down and, this past April, Curbed was folded completely into New York magazine, with many of its editorial employees laid off.

Now Curbed is re-emerging: New York Magazine on Tuesday relaunched it as a separate vertical on its site, alongside New York’s home-grown verticals like The Cut, Vulture, and The Strategist.

“Curbed, of all the digital properties that were created in the birth of internet journalism, has always felt to us editors like a long-lost sibling,” said David Haskell, the editor-in-chief of New York Media. “It shares with New York Magazine this sense of obsession with and enthusiasm for the American city.”

What the new Curbed is definitely not is a network of city sites: “We decided to dismantle that family of sites and make Curbed just one site,” Haskell said. “The dilemma the company faced was that Curbed was sort of scaled improperly. It was too small to thrive as a platform the way the other platforms at the [Vox] network are.” But as part of New York, he said, “it was useful to us as a home for a lot of coverage we do right now that doesn’t have an easy home.”

It will focus on news and writing about “the politics of the street,” real estate listings (for people who find “real estate listings a kind of pastime), and design — “the shelter magazine category has really shrunk over the last couple decades, and often the survivors are in survival mode,” Haskell said. “It creates an opportunity to be playful and weird.”

There are also affiliate revenue opportunities. A “shop” will offer links to home goods, at launch curated from the product recommendation vertical The Strategist.

Curbed is based in New York, though it has editors in Los Angeles and Denver. “My hope is that as Curbed evolves and grows, we can be more of a regular presence in other markets,” Haskell said. “But to me, the opportunity that New York Magazine has exploited for over 50 years now is to the ability to see, in local New York stories, much larger stories too.”

POSTED     Oct. 13, 2020, 10:04 a.m.
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