This was a brilliant move by the magazine, as Sullivan is and will remain one of the sharpest edges in the blogosphere, and always a must read even when he’s off on one of his rages. Time is buying traffic and it is a very smart move.
And I think it telegraphs what I expect will be a quick series of similar moves by other online platforms in the coming months. Many have signed on to PajamasMedia, but many large and mid-cap bloggers are unaffiliated. Some will choose to remain that way thanks to Henry Copeland. But others may hate the business side of blogging and welcome the opportunity to simply sift and comment and analyze full-time.
I suspect the smarter heads in MSM are trying to figure out which blogs to proposition. To avoid paying too much and to short-circuit the rise of blogger-agents, they quickly ought to hold a fantasy draft. Here’s rounds one and two, in reverse order of elite media importance. Drafting first, of course, the hapless Los Angeles Times, cellar dwellers for decades, rising right up through The Wall Street Journal, the online edition of which is running at more than three quarters of a million paid subscribers a year. Signed bloggers (to my knowledge) are ineligible, and I have exempted myself from consideration:
The Los Angeles Times: Powerline.
–Spending whatever it takes, a desperate Tribune Company realizes that this paper is lost without a credibility infusion for center-right readers, so it goes for the MVP of 2004.
Frustrated by their inability to trade up, the Blinded Eye goes for the best brand in aggregators, getting John and Tom as part of the rebuilding project.
A source inside the publicly-funded war room tells us that PBS knew they had to broaden their reach.
The New York Times: Lileks
Nobody likes the Times. Nobody who writes for the Times is funny. So the Times drafts to fill two needs.
The Boston Globe: RightWingNews
The Globe fills the most obvious hole in the MSM world. Oliphant announces he won’t report.
ABC: Captain’s Quarters
Volume, quality, and the suits thought Ed was Canadian, and that worked before.
Desperate to figure out Plamegate and Russert’s involvement, the Peacock grabs the ‘sphere’s most underrated player.
The Washington Post: Polipundit
The Post drafts a sure thing for its core audience.
With Michelle Malkin and Lorie Byrd off the board, the always-ten-steps-ahead-of-their-competition suits at WSJ.com go deep into the big talent bloggers who are also women, assuring the Journal’s upscale, highly educated, high income female demographic that there are indeed blogs they could be writing if they only had the time.
The Washington Post: Truth Laid Bare
A ten tool blogger, with enormous upside. Potential player-manager for the inline edition of the Post.
This stuns the draft watchers, but the buzz quickly turns very warm as NBC reaches out to a demographic with which they have zero connection.
The scouts at ABC have been watching Barnett’s essays at TheDailyStandard and make a reach which will reward them for years.
The Globe: TalkLeft
Eager to pacify Oliphant but also keen to find lefties who can write without use of profanity or vulgarity, the Globe nabs the best talking head of the left, Jeralyn Merritt.
The New York Times: FratersLibertas
Still working to fill the “humor gap,” the draft room misfires and ends up with ice skating obsessing/Cabbage Patch Doll collecting group of odd balls.
“We are committed to bringing new viewers to the site and hopefully the network.”
The Los Angeles Times: TruthDig
“Bold innovation is the future,” comments editor Baquet.