If you say something which everybody already knows, that doesn’t automatically make you boring.
Most critically, no advertising will be getting in the way. The decision on advertising was the hardest, because obviously it provides a vital revenue stream for almost all media products. But we know from your emails how distracting and intrusive it can be; and how it often slows down the page painfully. And we’re increasingly struck how advertising is dominated online by huge entities, and how compromising and time-consuming it could be for so few of us to try and lure big corporations to support us. We’re also mindful how online ads have created incentives for pageviews over quality content.
The Advertising Portion of Andrew Sullivan’s “We’re Going Independent” Post
There will be no advertising, at least in the onset. A bold component to a bold move by Sullivan and co.
Look: I chose digital over print 12 years ago, when I shifted my writing gradually online, with this blog and now blogazine. Of course a weekly newsmagazine on paper seems nuts to me. But it takes guts to actually make the change. An individual can, overnight. An institution is far more cumbersome. Which is why, I believe, institutional brands will still be at a disadvantage online compared with personal ones. There’s a reason why Drudge Report and the Huffington Post are named after human beings. It’s because when we read online, we migrate to read people, not institutions. Social media has only accelerated this development, as everyone with a Facebook page now has a mini-blog, and articles or posts or memes are sent by email or through social networks or Twitter.
Are you wondering why blogger Andrew Sullivan is going independent? Check out this post he wrote after Newsweek decided to go digital only. In it, he says that we look to people for news these days, not institutions. When I read this in October, I wondered why Sullivan would keep his brand under the umbrella of an institution if he really felt this way. Today, he’s answered that question.
When he came to work at The Times, Mr. Silver gained a lot more visibility and the credibility associated with a prominent institution. But he lost something, too: the right to act like a free agent with responsibilities to nobody’s standards but his own.