Courtesy of the NYT, a great (inadvertent) comparison between the way Gawker Media operates and the new Bloomberg BusinessWeek operates. First up, Gawker and the iPhone. Turns out that Gawker pays for scoops:
“If a news organization is open about its methods, what’s the criticism?” he (Denton) said to me and others. Other media organizations, he added, “only get into trouble over checkbook journalism because they’re so preoccupied with respectability — and they contort themselves.”
By this point, we have become inured to the fact that The National Enquirer greased some palms to bring down John Edwards, that TMZ, the gossip blog owned by Time Warner, will pay for news and that weekly magazines pretend they are paying photo fees when they are actually paying for celebrity news. Mr. Denton said that as exclusive news becomes an ever rarer commodity, the tactical aggression will grow in all corners.
They also incent their bloggers by showcasing how their stories drive traffic.
How obsessed is Gawker with traffic? It has a Big Board, a name conceived in now-lost irony, in its Manhattan headquarters where individual writers and their posts are monitored for real-time heat, which at Gawker is all about unique visitors.
“When a writer’s byline is on the Big Board, you see them sometimes just standing there in front of it. Even though nothing is changing,” Mr. Denton said. You can almost imagine Alec Baldwin roaming the room, offering steak knives to the second-place finisher.
Next up, Bloomberg! Of course there can’t be very much in common between the faddish speed and celeb obsessed Gawker and Bloomberg, right? Well, culturally, not so much. But how about this:
One speaker was the head of Bloomberg’s “speed desk,” who was especially proud, according to people at the meeting, when the desk published a headline seconds ahead of Reuters, and a young trader had made enough money from that lead alone to buy a Hummer.
A Businessweek employee raised her hand. Why, she asked, would a journalist be proud of that?
At Bloomberg News, where writers’ salaries are tied, among other factors, to how many “market-moving” articles they have produced, Businessweek is fitting in like — well, like an 80-year-old print magazine in a company that is all about terminals.
Well, I mean other than that focus on speed, and you know, traffic (however defined) to individual articles.