A Rolling Stone That Gathers No Moss
After a few consulting gigs at Hearst Magazines and Bauer Publications, here he is today, set up in Wenner’s Manhattan office, focusing on reshaping the company’s online properties. Initially brought on board in May 2006 as a freelance consultant to help turn the Us Weekly site into a proper Web site—it was relaunched last Labor Day—Blanchard stayed on to help spice up RollingStone.com, a much larger project. In October 2006, he was hired for his current role.
Over the years, Blanchard earned the reputation of being a jack-of-all trades. Besides his background in magazine writing and editing, he was a staff writer for a Comedy Central series, “Wastes of Time,” wrote an episode for “The Drew Carey Show,” penned a novel, “The Deed” and dabbled in video-game development.
He quickly discovered covering the rock ‘n’ roll world is a tough gig, he says. Once upon a time, it was a subject matter that virtually no one covered seriously. Then came 1967 and the first issue of a magazine that was less about pin-ups and juvenile profiles and more about serious journalism. Since then, thousands upon thousands of other voices joined in, in print and television, and now online, to offer their own unique spin on popular music culture.
“You can’t ever rest for a moment,” Blanchard says of the competition, “because you’re only as good as your most recent post. It’s a continual process.”
The Rolling Stone site—updated eight to 10 times a day by Blanchard and a staff of five full-time employees and two interns—is going through some interesting changes to bring the property more in line with current magazine trends.
What exactly wasn’t working with the old site?
“I think the particular problem of RollingStone.com was that we were acting like a breaking news site without breaking news,” he says. “How can you be on top of everything when there’s not much happening in a typical day? Kid Rock’s in the studio or Fall Out Boy kicks off a tour. It wasn’t breaking news. We had to refocus the news.”