Reddit, Advance Publications, and listening to your community

Reddit Thrives Under Hands-Off Policy at Advance Publications

David Carr from the New York Times has published a story about the great deal of autonomy that Advance Publications has given Reddit since it took over that site years ago. What I found amazing about the piece is that nowhere in it does Carr mention what Advance has done with some of its other publications (Carr was the journalist who broke the story about Advance cutting their print operation by more than half in New Orleans, Mobile, Birmingham, and Huntsville). This quote from Steven Newhouse couldn’t be a better example of everything they failed to do in New Orleans:

But that is not what happened. Steve Newhouse, the chairman of Advance.net, decided very early on that his company would not be the blob that ate Reddit, and for the most part, left well enough alone. “We had some ideas about what would be good, but it might not have worked,” Mr. Newhouse said. “We paid attention to the community instead.”

Paying attention to the community, you say? How about the community that universally despises what you’ve done to nola.com? What about the community that’s begged you to sell the paper rather than strangle it? You don’t want to be the blob that ate Reddit, but you’re perfectly content to be the blog that decimated the Times-Picayune. If that’s true, man, talk about misplaced priorities. If it’s untrue, Redditors can plan on seeing this soon.

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