A new media-oriented blog for the Bay Area will officially open tomorrow, BayNewser.com, though its authors have already posted several items to get their site started.
BayNewser is owned by New York-based MediaBistro, which also owns TVNewser, WebNewser, FishbowlLA, FishbowlDC and FishbowlNY.
BayNewser’s co-editors are E.B. (Liza) Boyd and Jason Turbow. (Liza introduced herself to Press Club readers May 1 — scroll to the bottom.) The Press Club asked them via e-mail some questions about BayNewser.
- Q: What do you plan to cover?
A: Everything media-related in the Bay Area, both old — what happens to the Chronicle is of vital interest not just locally, but nationally — and new. There are important journalism innovations going on here. Editorial, like what Dave Cohn is doing over at spot.us, or Michael Stoll at The Public Press.
Also the technologies that are in motion or emerging, that are going to change the way the media does its job, if they haven’t changed it already. There’s also the literary world, TV (will NBC shoot any more of “Trauma” here, now that they don’t seem to be eligible for rebates anymore?), and films.
There’s a lot going on here that hasn’t been covered in a focused way. Twenty years from now, long after the upheaval we’re going through has sorted itself out, people are going to point to the Bay Area as ground zero for many media solutions.
Q: How snarky will you make BayNewser?
A: That’s a fair question. Blogs lend themselves to a more informal tone than more traditional media, and franchises like Gawker/Valleywag probably lead some folks to equate blogs with snark. We’d love for BayNewser to become the place where people go to learn (and discuss) what’s going on in the local media — sort of like a coffee shop or bar where you’d go to chew over what’s going on in your world.
Just as the subjects covered in coffee-shop conversations range from the serious to the silly, and as the tone varies depending on the discussion, we’ll cover everything from the serious to the silly, and our tone will probably vary as well, depending on what we’re writing about.
Q: The ad MediaBistro posted for writers said the beat would extend from Russian Hill to Menlo Park. Is that still your plan?
A: “Russian Hill to Menlo Park” was probably just shorthand for “covering the Bay Area, across geography and across industries.” So yes, absolutely, that’s what we’d like to do.
Q: Is a media site that is based on a geographic area relevant these days?
A: The short answer is that the Bay Area is full of really smart thinkers and doers; we’re essentially offering a compendium of what those people are thinking and doing. The long answer might be more involved, including issues such as demographics and ad-sale revenue; the “suits” back at mediabistro.com headquarters in New York are probably better equipped to handle that part of the response.
Q: How much are you being paid? You’re probably not going to answer that, but is it based on pageviews, like Nick Denton has been doing at Gawker, or just a set amount?
A: We’re paid a flat rate per post. As for the exact amount, suffice it to say that neither of us is going to retire on what we’re making off this gig. We’re both freelancers and will continue to do other freelancing. But more important to your point is whether we’re being paid based on pageviews: No, we’re not. So we’re not being incentivized to write outrageous things like: “Phil Bronstein caught making out with Gavin Newsom, sources say.” (You can thank us for the traffic later. 🙂 )