Atlantic Media Corporation
Johnson Publishing, parent company of Ebony magazine, has the weighty title of "curator of the African-American experience." But the corporate base supporting that role keeps shrinking.
The company's recent decision to sell its historic photo collection is the latest example of downsizing, following the cancellation of Jet magazine's print version, the sale of Johnson's 11-story Michigan Avenue headquarters and the paring of its workforce by a third since 2007. Now it's trying to sublet one of two floors it rented at its new digs, after giving up a third earlier.
For some time now, media gossips have cast Michael Bloomberg as a benevolent billionaire with the means and motive to buy The New York Times, thereby rescuing it from financial uncertainty.
And ever since New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman floated a morsel on Jan. 23 that the former New York mayor, toward the end of his third term in 2013, "told Times chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. that he was interested" in acquiring the paper of record,
"This" is now more than a pronoun. In the online realm of social media, "this" is a statement, a proclamation, a call to action. Written often in caps, or as a hashtag (#THIS), "this" means "I second this sentiment," "This is great" or "Read this."
Now, "this" is a social network, This.cm, which allows users to post one link a day, with the intent of sifting through the Internet noise and focusing attention on a standout news article, blog post or podcast.
When Atlantic Media introduced business-news publication Quartz in September 2012, it spent about $10 million on the launch, according to people familiar with the matter. That's a far cry from the more than $100 million Condé Nast dropped in 2007 rolling out its glossy business magazine, Portfolio. After just two years, amid stiff economic headwinds, Portfolio folded.
Unlike Portfolio, Quartz is digital only -- existing purely as a web and mobile site. Two years after its introduction, Quartz has surpassed 10 million monthly readers in the U.S.,
Starting today, Gawker.com is going to slow down. Don't worry-as an editorial operation, we'll still be producing as much writing as we did before (probably even more). We're just going to put less of it on the front page.
Instead of publishing the majority of our stories directly to the front page, we'll be publishing them on to a set of subject-focused sub-blogs (a.k.a. "verticals," or, cutely, "diagonals"-I personally prefer to just borrow newspaper terminology wholesale and call them "sections"). Some of them-Valleywag, Defamer, Morning After-already exist. Others-focused on media, news, and politics-we've created.
starting today, Taylor will be able to mix in shorter quick hits with the long photo essays he's been known for, as The Atlantic launches a redesigned photo vertical, now known as The Atlantic's Photo section. The shorter posts will be housed in a new subsection called Burst.
This is the latest example of Atlantic Media shifting around the branding and structure of its constituent sites. Last October, for example, it brought The Wire (née The Atlantic Wire), its quick news aggregator, into the main Atlantic site. Earlier, The Atlantic Cities became CityLab.
"This." from Atlantic Media takes curation to the extreme. The site, which launched in beta on Wednesday, allows users to make a profile and follow other users. You can do three things on the site: Post a link (a maximum of one post a day), click on links that others have posted, and click on a star to endorse a link. That's about it. Not to downplay the site, but that's really all there is to it.
Almost a year ago The Wire dropped an important signifier from its name. The decision to drop the "Atlantic" was about letting the news and entertainment aggregator live on its own outside the parent company. Along with that came a new design and new URL, all emphasizing the point that The Wire was a brand on its own, comparable with other Atlantic Media independents.
Scott Stossel, editor of The Atlantic, has reason to be nervous. That's partly because of his personality-detailed in "My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind" published earlier this year-but also because the venerable print magazine over which he presides is just barely in the black. Stossel, who describes himself as "platform agnostic," is on his second tour of duty with The Atlantic. After joining the staff in 1992, he helped launch The Atlantic Online, the title's initial digital venture.
Like the music industry, the Guardian has realized that the value in media isn't in selling access to a specific product or unit of content, but in creating a deep relationship with readers and fans who want access.
Even as The Guardian has expanded its international readership dramatically over the past few years, critics have slammed the British news outlet for being a perennial money-loser, with no viable business model apart from the funding it receives via the Scott Trust. As it turns out, that is a pretty viable business model, but now the paper is expanding beyond that