Only a couple years ago, just as the economy started to tank, magazines took a strange tact with their web teams: they laid them off. Fortune.com, during the heart of the financial crisis in 2008, laid off the bulk of its web team, and put the site back in the hands of the folks at CNN Money. They asked the Fortune print staffers to contribute, but put virtually no pressure to on them to do so.
Well, that strategy, as strange and short-sighted as it was, is now officially scrapped! Joe Pompeo has a fascinating piece today on Fortune’s attempts to reinvent its website, which is being led by Daniel Roth, who used to work at Portfolio (another business website that let go nearly its entire editorial team immediately after Lehman Brothers went down, which was six months before the entire Portfolio print and web operation shutdown).
Pompeo writes, “Roth has since launched two new blogs and brought the total number of web editorial staffers to 10. The site has gone from producing one original daily item to between 12 and 15.”
Their big hire came in the form of Dan Primack, a Reuters blogger, yesterday. Obviously, Fortune.com is coming back to the game awfully late, but they’ve got the brand name, and maybe they can at least make up some of the ground they’ve lost over the last few years. But can they compete with the likes of DealBook and another online business franchises? That’s an uphill climb.