December 10, 2014

Nick Denton’s 2015 memo

Gawker Media CEO Nick Denton has published a mammoth memo for 2015, where he announces changes in leadership and other important stuff for people working on any of the company’s properties, or with an interest in media. But as always when Denton writes, there’s more, and this stood out.

We all understand how this works. Editorial traffic was lifted but often by viral stories that we would rather mock. We – the freest journalists on the planet – were slaves to the Facebook algorithm. The story of the year – the one story where we were truly at the epicenter – was one that caused dangerous internal dissension. We were nowhere on the Edward Snowden affair. We wrote nothing particularly memorable about NSA surveillance. Gadgets felt unexciting. Celebrity gossip was emptier than usual.

We pushed for conversations in Kinja, but forgot that every good conversation begins with a story. Getting the stories should have come first, because without them we have nothing to talk about.

And also this, where Denton talks about his seven man strong leadership junta:

[…] I need to share power more broadly. I need a team, a group I can trust to act in the best interests of all of us. I need to be edited. I need advisors with whom I can be fully candid, and who can be candid with me, even when it’s uncomfortable. I’m told seven is the perfect number for a team (or an online conversation, for that matter).

Finally, Denton’s turning to blogging gospel, and preaching the truth if you ask me. Sure, it’s all publishing, but this is what publishers should be thinking of, not the next clickbait crapfest.

As a company, we are getting back to blogging. It’s the only truly new media in the age of the web. It is ours. Blogging is the essential act of journalism in an interactive and conversational age

You should go read the whole thing, because no matter what you think of Gawker Media’s properties and their style, there’s no denying that they’re doing most things right, so when they criticize themselves, publishers should listen.

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