Today’s roundup is brought to you by Chris.
As ever with Simon Owens’ newsletter there’s a lot of interrelated stories here, but the one that caught my eye is the first – his assertion that eventually every company decides to join the media family. Just as everything eventually becomes crab, any sufficiently large company eventually sheds its corporate comms shell and decides to launch a media biz.
Speaking of reports that Robinhood is looking to launch a standalone media company, Owens says: “Robinhood’s new media outlet definitely fits within that trend, and its executives certainly hope that Sherwood will lower user acquisition costs while strengthening the company’s brand within the finance community. Whether it stays committed to the project and continues to invest remains to be seen.”
And, indeed, Owens then notes that a16z’s recently-shuttered publication Future was once also touted as the future of tech journalism. Running a publication is hard enough for the organisations that have been in media for decades, and while it’s not at all impossible that Robinhood will succeed I suspect it will be much harder than they imagine.
I hadn’t heard of Sesi Magazine before this write-up from Mr. Magazine, featuring an interview with its founder and editor-in-chief Andréa Butler. It’s a fascinating look at the realities of running a magazine that prides itself on reaching a niche audience – and I especially loved Butler’s unequivocal rejection of the idea that more mainstream titles are properly serving the Black community.
Brian Morrissey’s taking a close look at the realities of ownership of media companies – using Semafor as an example. Speaking of its initial funding from disgraced crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried, he says: “The basic fact is, as it stands, Semafor wouldn’t exist without SBF’s money. That’s a problem. And it’s one that is on some level simply the risk you take with taking funding, or to me giving up ownership.”
Wikipedia is one of the greatest resources (and timesucks) of our age. A veritable modern-day Library of Alexandria, even its most vocal critics have to admit it is a phenomenal achievement. But like any digital entity it has to change with the times, no matter how subtly – especially when a new generation joins our internet community.
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