June 27, 2014

"A blog is an animal that is always famished," said NYT Assistant Managing Editor Ian Fisher, explaining why the NYT is closing down so many of its blogs.

The NYT told Poynter there would still be "bloggy content with a more conversational tone," but not in blog form. Part of it is that the redesigned site isn't working well with the The Times’ blogging software, but it's also an assessment of where the traffic is going and whether all the work of feeding the hungry animal called Blog is worth it.

Fisher disclosed that little traffic arrived on the NYT site through the blog's first page and we're told "he's rethought: The necessity to brand blogs. 'I’m actually a believer for the most part that we don’t need to be naming things.'"

That sounds odd and in need of interpretation. I think what's going on there is that blogs under the NYT brand failed to develop their own set of loyal readers, and the goal of increasing traffic to the NYT site was not served, not enough to justify writing in that format.

Blogging is a writing format, and it can be mobilized in service of different ends. I'm pleased at the failure of blogging as a means to the end of increasing traffic to a mainstream media website. I have long believed in blogging as a format for independent, individualized personal expression.

You've got to be the blog, not regard it as a pesky Other, always whining for more.

16 comments:

rhhardin said...

Blogs also follow Zipf's law.

A few sites get all the traffic, and there's a long long tail with the rest.

Almost any blog you set up is in the long, long tail. In particular, NYT sites.

Bob R said...

I wonder how the Volokh Conspiracy is working within the WaPo umbrella. Has anyone heard how it has affected blog traffic or helped/hurt the Post? I thought that was a good move on the part of both parties. Pretty low risk for both sides. It would have been nice if the move had an effect on the culture of the WaPo newsroom, but there was never much chance of that.

Carol said...

Who the hell would go to a newspaper to read blogs. Comments to actual stories, yeah, if only to see the mindset of their readers.

Newspapers never really got the blog thing right, but jumped on the bandwagon anyway because they thought the big spending young domographic just liked this New Thing called blogs. Content didn't matter, as long as it was a BLOG. They still can't tell the difference between a blog and a blog post.

It was amusing to see the local paper trot out the *hip* younger reporters to handle the blog dept, only to run out of things to say after a week or so.

David said...

NYT is a rudderless ship with an endless supply of fuel. But soon or later it will run into something that will sink it.

traditionalguy said...

Did he call a Blog a Pig?

FullMoon said...

At the top of Althouse blog is an arrow pointing to"next blog"

Following the arrow you see many blogs started and abandoned.

Mark Twain wrote a daily column for a San Francisco newspaper.

He was miserable trying to come up with something on a daily basis..

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger David said...
NYT is a rudderless ship with an endless supply of fuel. But soon or later it will run into something that will sink it.

6/27/14, 5:15 PM
-------

The NYT is not rudderless. Its rudder is stuck hard to port.

Sam Hall said...

I put a short (bought puts) on the NYT's stock last month. They are making money which is only good thing I know about the NYT.

Bruce Hayden said...

I wonder how the Volokh Conspiracy is working within the WaPo umbrella.

I think that overall, it has helped the WaPo more than the other way around. Probably not surprisingly, the Volokh Conspirators have provided them with far higher quality legal analysis than they had before, or, indeed, have elsewhere in their stable. Just look at the hack job their in-house "experts" did to the recent Supreme Court decisions.

The downside is that they have essentially the same regulars at the Volokh section of WaPo as Volokh had before. Some new participants, but many are the same.

The interesting thing though to me is that I think that the VC were getting bored or stale in their old environs. They are much more engaged now. You see them participating in their own discussions more, and commenting on the posts of others. More postings too, esp. by eclectic (Eugene) Volokh himself. And, I really enjoyed the back and forth of dueling posts between Kerr and Somin on all the 9-0 decisions this Supreme Court term over the last couple of days.

And, heading back there right after posting this - interesting post on Stand Your Ground by EV to read.

Sam L. said...

Blog format is not NYT format.

Rich Vail said...

I my view, essentially, the NYT is abdiacting a format they don't understand...mostly I suspect because they have no respect for bloggers. F$$k 'em. We own this.

Fidel said...

NY Times cannot make money on blogs so blogs are bad.

In other words, people are finally paying the NY Times value..

glenn said...

Speaking of interpreting I can interpret the Times statement.

"We're too lazy to do this"

OK.

buckwheaton said...

Liberals at the NYT have bumped into a demanding animal that must be properly restrained if it is to be put to productive use, and they don't like the burden of oversight that it requires.

You could just as correctly say that "a government is an animal that is always famished."

In this other context, they love it when the animal gets loose and consumes everything in sight as long as it is ideologically beneficial to them:

The founding father George Washington (whose picture is on the paper dollar bills the government is creating by the trillions) warn us that this animal is like fire, a wonderful servant but a horrible master.

Our government is starting to become our master, and this is made worse by its self-assumed power to create all the money it needs out of thin air. Well, near-infinite money enables near-infinite government.


Every day more people are coming to the judgment that a carefully organized effort to repair the constitution via the States' power to propose and ratify amendments has less risk to our liberty and prosperity than the present trajectory of the federal government and especially the federal bureaucracy.

The first order of business of an Article V Convention must be to limit government's ability to spend and create near-infinite amounts of money.

--theBuckWheat

SamW said...

In other news: Taranto's 'Best of the Web' at WSJ - a blog - has been pulled back behind the pay-wall. (And here I was considering subscribing again. Not anymore.)

Just Mike said...

then Meades Dog Blog must be especially needy. Now I gotta go feed my blog