By Chris Daly
In my recent book, Covering America, I ended my 300+ year narrative of journalism in America on an optimistic note. One reason for that optimism is the success of Josh Marshall and his Talking Points Memo.
I admire Marshall, and I wish him well. So I was pleased to see this item in the Nieman
Journalism Lab website, which suggests that Marshall is trying to figure out what a blog looks like when it grows up. After 12 years in business, TPM has expanded in several stages, reaching 28 full-time employees recently. That makes it a medium-sized newsroom, based entirely on the Web. TPM has no legacy in traditional media; it was born on-line and grew up there.
Now, the growing seems to mean branching out into all kinds of media, especially video, as well as mobile apps. Here’s the take-away, from Marshall himself:
“If someone were to ask me a year ago, I would have said, ‘Well, yeah, we’re not just a website — it’s this, and we have that, and the other.’ But I think it was when I saw mobile growing as fast as it was that it just sort of hit me at a different level,” Marshall told me. “Inevitably, as long as mobile was something like five percent of traffic, it was just something you made available on the side. But you start to see,this is going to be half of our audience. We can’t be approaching it in a way that the website is the thing, and we’re making imitations of it — because this thing is losing its primacy. In a lot of ways, it wasn’t until late last year that it hit me at a different level. It hit me as more than a concept. It was really true.”