From the Desk of Patrick Ward…
Amid the furor that is CES, somehow a confluence of events in the tech media went largely unnoticed.
Look at what happened last week:
- All Things D transformed into Re|Code, separating a tech journalism icon and his swashbuckling partner (who may one day herself achieve icon status) from one of the great newspapers in history. All at a valuation rumored to be around $50 million.
- Mashable took its first outside investment, garnering $13.3 million from Washington DC-based Updata (a curious amount it seems to me that divides pretty nicely into 1/3 of $40 million – just a guess).
- Yahoo launched its new Yahoo Tech to much fanfare, including being introduced by Katie Couric. Yes, that Katie Couric. It is staffed with highly credible journalists who, along with its embedded reach, immediately make it a new site to watch.
- TechCrunch Co-editor Eric Eldon resigned amicably engendering a significant shakeup in that site’s senior staff.
- The Wall Street Journal completely revamped its tech coverage and launched WSJ.D, as well as a new conference in September to replace the one Mossberg and Swisher took with them to their new venture.
That all happened in one week! Wow, welcome 2014.
Now, let’s put some perspective on this: in August, John Henry, the owner of the Boston Red Sox, agreed to buy the Boston Globe, for $70 million, and got the Worchester Telegram thrown in. The Boston Globe is a 140 year-old media company with 22 Pulitzer Prizes since 1966 and it’s essentially only worth about 20 percent more than a media company founded last week.
That is a huge indictment of the Globe and a massive vote of confidence for Re|Code or Mashable or any other online news outlet.
Everyone knows old media is dying. That notion is so commonplace that it’s become hackneyed. But the resurgence of these new media companies is exciting. I saw Re|Code staffers on the news sites of NBC (their new investor and partner) so much last week, you wondered how they had time to write their own news. That partnership is brilliant and will reap benefits for both organizations. It shows a new conflation of content that disregards the medium and focuses instead on the story. Reuse, re-channel, recode (I suppose).
I can’t predict what all of these developments mean ultimately; smarter minds will have to discern that. But, it seems like we are poised for a new era in tech journalism fueled by capital that believes there still is an opportunity in media, just maybe not the kind of media we knew before 2005 or so.