Editor ﾕ Wired
Chris Anderson has big plans for integrating Wired magazine and Wired Digital now that the companion brands have been reunited after an odd separation that lasted nearly ten years.
Condé Nast, which has owned Wired since 1997, bought Wired Digital in July 2006. To Chris Anderson, who has been editor of Wired for five years, having separate owners of the two entities was a "surreal situation, where Wired wasn’t wired." Fortunately, the Wired.com Web site continued along the same thematic approach as the print magazine, so both were on the same page.
Since then, updating the backend technology and rebuilding the Web site has been a huge project. Wired.com relaunched in April. "We’ve shifted to a blog-led, participatory journalism model," says Anderson. Blogs already represent the largest single source of Wired.com traffic, so the new site will include dozens of blogs that encourage visitors to participate through comments, wikis, polls, and a real-time "letters to the editors" concept, where readers vote on which letters to publish in the print magazine.
Also last year, Wired Digital bought social aggregation news site Reddit.com, which allows users to select and rank Web content. Anderson plans to incorporate that technology into more and more Wired articles. "The magazine is a one-way medium," he says. "We publish it, and they read it. The magazine content will increasingly become a two-way medium."
The grand plan is to use the blogs to open-source magazine research and to test ideas, solicit input, get feedback, and share data. "We’re shifting the editorial tone from a lecture to a conversation in order to catalyze a community," says Anderson. "In a broad sense, we will practice what we preach by bringing a lot more transparency to the writing process, and that should produce a better magazine."
In his book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, Anderson makes the point that mainstream media must compete with the long tail of media;the 55 million blogs and micromedia sites out there that, admittedly, can’t print lavish design on glossy pages but can laser-focus on very narrow interests. That’s something that the print economic model, which demands readers in the millions, hasn’t traditionally allowed. Blogs enable print publishers to engage on that very narrow level.
Wired delivers more than 650,000 copies per issue, up 8 percent over last year with newsstand up 28 percent. Wired.com has more than five million unique visitors each month, up 50 percent from last year.