A wake for BuzzFeed, Gawker, Vice with CANADALAND’s Jonathan Goldsbie

CANADALAND's Jonathan Goldsbie on the BetaKit Podcast.
A post-mortem on the rampant demise of 2000s digital media publications & how they compare to the slow death of traditional media.

Digital media publications are dropping left and right these days. BuzzFeed News is gone, Gawker died for the second time, and Vice just filed for bankruptcy.

Now, this isn’t tech news specifically, but it is impacted by tech, with new media startups adopting tech’s VC-fuelled approach to rapid scaling (as well as its batting average for success) and sinking or swimming based upon the priorities of Big Tech’s algorithms.

More pointedly, the podcast you’re consuming is produced by a digital media publication now more than 10 years old that has lived three different lives: first as a Postmedia publication, then relaunched as a Canadian-focused tech publication run by an independent media company, and spun out once again as its own company.

“That is a deeply unhealthy way to live and to work and it’s ultimately not a successful way to sustain a publication.”

So this stuff is of personal and professional interest to me. I have been working in digital media, new media, web media since 2004. The publications that have recently gone under, while not necessarily ones that I aspired to, were certainly peers on what felt like a new frontier.

Well, the problem with frontiers is that you never hit the horizon, and when the sun sets, there is only darkness.

So as the old new way of doing things die off, what will come along to replace them? ChatGPT? Is that what you people want?

I can’t help but think if BetaKit were launched in 2023 rather than 2012 it would have been a Substack, a YouTube channel, and a podcast.

Before we talk more about what comes next, we need to hold a wake for the dead. Joining me to do that is CANADALAND news editor Jonathan Goldsbie—he is familiar with these types of wakes.

Let’s dig in.

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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Sponsored by Goodlawyer.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

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