Blog Post

Media On Media: Under WaPo; Hatchet On HuffPo

The winter holidays are over, sadly, though even more sadly, things look a lot bleaker going into the new year, including media and, media about media. Two such stories: Makeover: Under the new ownership of WaPo, here’s what you can do if you’re not part of the print+online bureaucracy: you can completely relaunch a magazine website into a daily news affair in less than five weeks. The site/mag is under the Slate Media Group, and now the reasons for this separate group are a lot more apparent than when it was announced last year: a run around the messy red tape at the main org. As Susan Glasser, executive editor of Foreign Policy points out in this Politico story: “We were able to do this guerilla redesign in just five of six weeks…That’s really hard to do in a big place that has multiple layers of people involved and two different corporate entities.”

Dumenco’s Hatchet Job on HuffPo: Our regular readers know that we have been sufficiently bearish on HuffPo over the years, and even when crazy valuations were being bandied about by, well, HuffPo insiders to the media, there were enough skeptics (including us) of those numbers. Simon Dumenco, whose AdAge columns have been on the mark more often than not over the years, does a horrible hatchet job, taking a series of half-truths, completely false claims from dubious sources, and zero understanding of valuations of private vs public companies, or for that matter, media companies, and comes to the grand conclusion that the site is worth only about $2 million. If I wasn’t miserably sick and cold in the north Indian winter this week, it would have merited almost the same fisking as the 2006 Digg BusinessWeek cover story that he helpfully points out. Yes, almost all is fair as humor, Simon, we get it, but this from a former colleague…c’mon. One call to the usually-almost-useless HuffPo PR may have cleared half of these numbers up…