TBD.com Gutted: Making Money on News Is Hard

In your tragic Wednesday media column: TBD is eviscerated, a new WaPo ombudsman, media tweet beef, a bunch of HuffPo millionaires, Harper's Magazine is a case study of woe, and Fox News is your most valuable cable network without balls.

  • Goodbye, TBD.com! It was supposed to be the hot new local news thing for Washington, DC and it hired Erik Wemple away from the Washington City Paper and everything and hired a whole bunch of good reporters and now, dang it, parent company Allbritton is "eliminating the majority of TBD.com's jobs." What does that mean? It means that "TBD will become a niche site on arts and entertainment," with little if any news staff. Gonzo, just like that. If there's a lesson here, it's not that you can't make money in local news; it's that you can make money in local news, with a local teevee news station, like they've always been doing since before the internet was even invented.
  • Patrick Pexton, a former senior editor at National Journal, is the new ombudsman at the Washington Post. The temptation to title his debut post "Toldja, TBD.com" must be quite strong.
  • Oh, and (related?) Jack Shafer and David Corn are beefing on the Twitter, for some reason. Everybody email me your theories why! Or just put them on the Twitter, for all to see!
  • A handful of "original" employees of the Huffington Post are getting million-dollar payouts from the site's sale to AOL. And everyone else is so mad about it! Those people suck! We wish we were them!
  • The Observer has a good overview of the remarkably incompetent management at Harper's Magazine over the past couple of years, a sort of case study of what happens when an owner's idea of business realities clashes with the ideas of writers and editors who feel their own sense of ownership of a proud editorial product. "Harper's will never love you as much as you love Harper's," concludes one. Ain't it the truth, everywhere?
  • ESPN, of course, is the most valuable cable network, because Americans care about sports more than food or politics or guns or anything else on this earth. But do you know what the most valuable non-sports cable channel is? It's Fox News! Because—same reason—Americans are dumb.