A Rolling Stone That Gathers No Moss
Instead of trying to scoop everyone, the decision was made that the site would act more as a filter of the music news it would feature. It would take in the big stories, funnel them through the Rolling Stone persona and offer it up to the site’s visitors.
“We’re learning people want news featured with a little bit of opinion,” he says of the new direction.
So the personality that people have come to identify with the magazine was put upfront. The site’s home page quickly became the place where all of the real action happens on the site. But it was not always like that.
“It was not reflecting the site,” he says of the former home page. “Good features of the site were more than one click away. The lifeblood of the site was on ‘Rock & Roll Daily,’ and it was on a secondary page.”
The blog and most of the reviews, for both the music and movies reviewed by the staff of the print edition, are now on the home page for all to see.
The editors of the site ask visitors to post their own opinions of what they read—whether they loved something or hated it. People are encouraged to debate with the editors and with each other.
“You’re seeing a democratization of the reading process,” Blanchard says. “You can use the news as a way to engage people in dialogue. But democracy has its downside. It opens the floodgates to uninformed opinion, untrained and inappropriate comments. But it allows people to respond with feedback. And they feel they’re part of a club and are more inclined to read on a regular basis.”
With page views up from 14 million to approximately
19 million in just a few short months, his strategy has begun to show signs of paying off.