Rolling Stone just laid off several more staff, including Online Editor Kyle Anderson, a tipster informs us. Other casualties include another editor, an assistant and a fact-checker. The cuts come one month after Wenner Media shed online, marketing and advertising staff, plus the entire offices in San Francisco and Detroit. They pave the way, we're guessing, for CEO Jann Wenner's exciting new RollingStone.com revamp, for which he's just hired a "Chief Digital Officer" from — wait for it — Reader's Digest, that bastion of online innovation. Steve Schwartz's stodgy pedigree should fit in well with Rolling Stone's steady slide deeper into irrelevance, and with old-man Wenner's vision of the internet as the place where that process can continue, only faster:
MediaWorks: Why not try to turn RollingStone.com into something that has a much larger reach online that reaches tons of people who don't touch the print edition?
Jann Wenner: Why undercut the print edition? You're just going to undercut the print edition. There's a finite audience for reading about music. And they like the print edition. They find it valuable and on and on and on.
Wenner is, once again, not even pretending that the Rolling Stone brand is intended to appeal to young people, who tend to do their reading online. This is like that time he called Facebook "kind of a teen thing" — unlike RollingStone.com.
But presumably his strategy is based on a careful study of revenue flows, demographic surveys, competitors that sort of thing. Right?
MediaWorks: No favorite blogs or other sources of news?
Jann Wenner: You know what the problem is? Finding enough time to read and raise children is just like, whoof.
...MediaWorks: How much of Wenner Media's ad revenue comes from digital operations?
Jann Wenner: Honestly, I don't know.
Jann Wenner should be fired. Too bad there's no one who can actually do that.