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Dan Abrams

Dan Abrams

Posted: July 7, 2009 09:57 AM

Introducing Mediaite


Welcome to Mediaite, the website of and about the media. It's my hope that after checking out the site you will see this as a unique property that will quickly become the must-read for anyone interested in media, the business of it and the personalities behind it. We have assembled some of the most respected and engaging media writers in the country as well as dynamic features including a media influence index and a job board that can assist media professionals, even those seeking new careers.

For me, this site is the manifestation of a vision I have had for many years. When I was General Manager of MSNBC I helped create a segment called “Beat The Press” which I then continued on my show Verdict. In that segment, I had some fun with media hypocrisy, gaffes, and self-righteousness. Some of that same sensibility will be evident here — except this time I am not making the calls. While I have certainly helped create the tone and direction of Mediaite, now that the site is live, I will take on the role of Publisher. I will continue to help guide and manage the business side of the site, but the editorial decisions will be left entirely to the editorial staff.

Why would I give up the opportunity to edit my own site? There are a number of reasons. Most important, however, I want this site to be viewed as objective - tough and opinionated - but not the Dan Abrams Post. I have strong feelings about many in media and will write opinion columns for the site but the editorial team will determine the editorial content. When you think about the team we have assembled, it's easy to understand why I feel so comfortable -- Managing Editor Colby Hall, Editor-at-Large Rachel Sklar (former Huffington Post media editor) , Senior Editor Glynnis MacNicol (former FishbowlNY editor), and TV Editor Steve Krakauer (former TV Newser editor) (among others) — are top of class.

There are also other considerations. For example, today I don't know that I would be perceived as fair in reporting on someone like Jeff Zucker (ranked #1 on our T.V. Titans list). Jeff made my career as a reporter, and had the faith to make me General Manager of MSNBC. When I asked to go back to hosting a show, he let me do just that and later when MSNBC later replaced Verdict with the more network-appropriate Rachel Maddow Show (which I really like…Rachel is #40, btw), Zucker along with NBC News President Steve Capus (#7), and MSNBC President Phil Griffin (#38) went out of their way to offer me a number of other on-air positions, including another regular MSNBC anchor slot and fill-in time hosting the Today show.

Instead, I decided to start my own businesses and Jeff still encouraged me to stay on as the outside Chief Legal Analyst for NBC, which remains my title today. It would be fair to say that I might not be perceived as objective about him and more importantly about NBC since I still have a deal with them. While it's true that one doesn't have to look hard to find other examples of media critics who report for media entities, that is not a role I want at this time.

Why start another site about media now? Well, I say: Why not? While traditional journalism as we have known it is clearly in decline, a whole new vibrant media world is springing up to take its place. There are actually more people than ever working in some form of media. This new media world is far more fractured and comes with its own rules of engagement. All of which makes this an incredibly exciting time to cover the industry.

As for monetizing the site, we will be trying a 360 approach -- integrated sponsorships, innovative ads, an interactive job board and events and conferences. We are thrilled to be kicking it off with HBO as our launch sponsor.

As you may have seen, just the fact that we are launching this site has led to just a bit of buzz, which has been really exciting. So much so, that some even criticized the site before it had even launched! That included fictional doomsday narratives about how the site might become a secret vehicle to promote clients of my expanding social media/media consulting business, Abrams Research. It is very straightforward: this site is separate and distinct from that business. It's no different than any other individuals and/or media companies with an interest in more than one venture. Furthermore, here the editorial team has complete autonomy.

If you’re in media - or just into media - we want you to consider this your site. We view this as a work in progress and while we’ve tried to make it as comprehensive as possible, we want your feedback and criticism (umm a site about media, I'm guessing I did not need to ask for that). We expect to make many changes as the site matures but no, we won't change the name! While it does not exactly slip off the tongue, the idea is easy to remember. How better to convey the concept that we are of, and about the media than becoming a Media-ite! Our softball team is the Mediaite Meteorites. No, not really.

In the meantime, enjoy Mediaite. It's for the media, it's about the media and it is part of the new media.

The following post originally appeared at Mediaite.com.