Weekend Media Threads May 18, 2019


Last week was an interesting one for me; On Monday I accepted the role of vice president of digital operations with Connecticut Public. I’m still pinching myself to be sure it’s not a dream. Just to even be considered for the role was an honor. But to now be part of the team is humbling. Connecticut Public is an outstanding organization that, above all, is mission-driven is remarkable. And I can’t wait to get started!

Profitable (Modern) Media Businesses?

I’ve been listening to a great series of podcasts from Digiday. In the four part series, they interview executives from bootstrapped media companies and discuss how they run a sustainable and **gasp** profitable media business.

In 2019.

Crazy, right?

This week’s episode is with Mobile Nations’ co-founder and COO Kevin Michaluk. What struck me most, not just in this episode but throughout the series, is how focused the executives are on their product and business plan. They are more concerned with what they are doing rather than what a hundred competitors might be doing.

As a result, each organization has perfected the ability to avoid the pitfalls of short-terms wins at the cost of audience or company culture. Instead they place long-term bets that sustain culture, and grow audience and revenue. Even when the rest of the industry is sprinting towards the next great savior, these executives stay true to their business plan, and all have come out on top.

Rotten Tomatoes for News? Sure?

As reported on TechCrunch, a new startup, Credder, has created a Rotten Tomatoes style rating system and website for news outlets. The site is currently locked, you need an invitation to get in, which is included in the TechCrunch article. Everything seems simple enough, and is straight-forward, but I’m going to take a wait-and-see attitude.

Anyone familiar with Rotten Tomatoes and the on-goings of pop culture knows what happens when a determined group decides they don’t like the current iteration of something. The property gets review-bombed. Tanking the score, which has a lasting effect in the world of entertainment.

Just read this story from TechCrunch about the review-bombing that took place prior to Captain Marvel even being released in theaters. And what was Rotten Tomatoes big fix? Don’t let users comment before a movie is actually in theaters. Which doesn’t actually fix the problem, it just pushes it down the road.

I get what the creators of Credder are trying to do, and it’s something that is needed. But is now the right time to give this kind of governance given the current political climate?

The TechCrunch article warns that the site could gain traction, attracting trolls that review-bomb institutions such as the New York Times. Which we all know will happen. However, I would argue that it would be worse if the site doesn’t gain broad traction, but instead attracts an engaged niche audience of trolls with no counter-audience to correct the curve.

If that happens, then reputable media sites could get negative scores while trash sites get average or positive scores with no counterbalance.

Suddenly those that want their bias confirmed have a site doing just that.

Weekend Roundup

Here is a round up of interesting stories from the week


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