Aug 14, 2013

on bustle

Bryan Goldberg:

Maybe we need a destination that is powered by the young women who currently occupy the bottom floors at major publishing houses.

Amidst all the chatter about the inanity / insanity of Goldberg’s PandoDaily post, this is the bit that stuck out for me. My first thought after skimming Goldberg’s piece was “well, he’ll have a hell of a time recruiting a good editor-in-chief now…who in their right mind would join Bustle after this?” But remember, his DNA is Bleacher Report, which was built on a community of distributed contributors covering individual teams. Bleacher worked because they rode the blog wave, surfing on the backs of geographically distributed fans who were writing about their local pro / college / high school football / baseball / basketball / soccer teams. The natural hierarchy of the sports media market meant that an individual contributor with a strong voice in a local market could get “famous” through B/R by covering games, spouting off about their local team, and slagging their rivals.

I don’t think Goldberg can run the same play here (to abuse a metaphor). The content structure isn’t the same (sports > leagues > cities > teams), and, frankly, the world’s moved on from the B/R model. The “young women who currently occupy the bottom floors at major publishing houses” don’t need a Bustle for exposure — they’re already doing it through Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. And without a strong editorial voice & vision at the top of the masthead (which would now be nearly impossible to recruit) what’s left to attract those young women to power the site? $6.5mm won’t buy you high quality content for long…just ask The Daily.