We heard some rumblings in the vicinity of Blog@ Newsarama of late, and now it’s all busted loose, as the original lineup of bloggers, including JK Parkin, Kevin Melrose, Tim O’Shea, Carla Hoffman, Melissa Krause, Jeff Trexler, Matt Maxwell, and Jennifer de Guzman, are leaving at the end of the month:
It’s kind of bittersweet, then, to announce that those of us who currently write for the blog are leaving Newsarama. It’s no secret that the site has gone through tremendous growing pains over the last few months and has been moving in a new direction since being purchased by Imaginova. Behind the scenes, there’s been a lot of growing pains as well, and we’ve reached the point where we think it’s better for us to move on. Nov. 30 will be our last day, and starting Dec. 1 you’ll be seeing a new crew take over the site.
In a longer statement, Parkin explained some of the reasons for the exodus:
For the most part, the last two and a half years of working with Matt Brady and Michael Doran have been awesome. From the beginning, Michael and Matt were very supportive of everything we did on the blog, while at the same time being very hands off, giving me the freedom to choose who wrote for the blog, what we wrote, how it was designed, etc. And I’m really proud of what we did with the opportunity.
The Imaginova bought Newsarama. Things didn’t change right away, at least not much, but then came the relaunch of Newsarama. It was less than optimal (and that’s being kind), as anyone who has visited the sites and read the forums since last summer can see for themselves. Behind the scenes, things weren’t any better. For example, going back to the day of the relaunch, we were never asked about or even told about Imaginova redesigning the blog. I found out it was happening because I was in the middle of doing a post and received a 404 error when I tried to publish it. I run the damn blog, and they didn’t have the courtesy to give me a head’s up about what they were doing.
That was the start of the summer from hell.
Vinnie’s talking about a problem that should have been fixed months ago, when it was first brought to Imaginova’s attention. Our comments haven’t worked the way they are supposed to since the site relaunch. Even worse, I’ve emailed various folks at Imaginova about this issue many times since it started, and I have yet to receive a “we’re working on it” or “we’ll get to it” response. A lot of people have given up on commenting on the blog as a result.
There are more examples like this, but that probably gives you a flavor of what’s been going on. I get that when a site relaunches or goes through a redesign like this that things aren’t going to go perfectly. It’s the nature of the beast. But combine those lingering problems with bad communications, and it just makes everything worse.
Anyway, everything came to a head in September, when I decided to step down and the rest of the blog said they were going with me. The headaches, problems and lack of response from Imaginova just weren’t worth it anymore. But Matt talked us into staying, promising some changes in how things worked, how we interacted with Imaginova and our first pay raise since we started with the blog back in 2006. He offered a pretty decent pay system that turned this from a side hobby we were all probably spending too much time on into a legitimate freelance opportunity.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, he came back in November and said those changes he’d promised were effectively null and void. So we decided to leave, effective Nov. 30.
I believe Matt is now looking for more folks to take over the blog. I sincerely wish them the best of luck, as we put a lot into the site over the last couple of years. I also thank Matt and Michael for the opportunity they gave us. Honestly, I thought we had worked everything out in September, and it sucks that things have ended the way they have.
We will be back. I can’t share any details on exactly where yet, as we’re still working that out. I’ll share more about that once things are finalized. But did I mention how kick ass the Blog@ team is? I can’t think of a better group of folks I’d want to work with. And despite everything that’s happened, for some reason they haven’t kicked me out of the group, so …
Blog@ originally started as The Great Curve, a group blog curated by Alex Segura Jr., and its absorption by Newsarama was part of a move towards blogging for larger media conglomerates. The Imaginova deal was announced last year, as part of Imaginova’s $15 million war chest for acquisitions, but apparently expansion plans fell afoul of the Grim Economy, as a quarter of the staff was laid off last month, and, according to a tipster at the previous link, CEO and President Dan Stone resigned.
What with cuts at Variety, and everywhere else, this is all part of the global retrenchment now taking place. We’re long overdue for a big business news roundup, but let’s be blunt, it’s all bad, so let’s just enjoy some turkey and meet back in a little while.