“The journalists we picked were too good. We made a big deal of only hiring the “best journalists”, something we spent a great deal of time getting right. We had a guy with a Pulitzer, one with an Emmy, and overall a great deal of talent writing for us In hindsight, this may have been a big mistake. The kind of writer we actually needed was one that was hungry to succeed. Someone who would write five pieces a day, and who wanted nothing more than to be a big-time journalist. We needed a young Perez Hilton or Michael Arrington, people who wrote for 18 hours a day in order to make their names. Instead, we got journalists who were already successful in their day jobs, and who already had families and other commitments. They were checking out the latest thing in news, not hungry to make something of themselves. Why would they be, they already had made something of themselves.”
The crazy thing is that this guy wrote thousands of words trying to say what we could’ve said in eight: “We’re not journalists and we don’t understand journalism.” It’s weird … I never saw NewsTilt in action while it was up, but True/Slant was a really cool thing when it was around, though it works well as an engine for Forbes, too.
But you know what’s happened? Really? I think Tumblr’s started to do much of what these sites set out to do. We have curators here who actually do put in 18 hours a day on this stuff. Name journalists hang here in their off-time. And it’s not because they need a NewsTilt or a True/Slant. It’s because they want to. Oh yeah, there’s a guy who knows journalism working with the tech people to make the product approachable to journalists. The question is … how do we get people outside of our sphere to notice? That’s the million-dollar question.