Media Oxpecker: Go Home Silicon Valley, You’re Drunk

Every week we round up media news you may have missed while you were busy advising Bezos.

While you were figuring out how to stretch out your freelance budget for the rest of the year, people with too much money on their hands were busy giving Bleacher Report founder Bryan Goldberg $6.5 million in venture capital funds to launch Bustle, a general interest website for women “that puts world news and politics alongside beauty tips.”

“It seems crazy,” said Goldberg — a “maker” in Silicon Valley parlance — when he explained the concept to Forbes reporter Jeff Bercovici. “And that’s what’s awesome about it.” But wait, it gets crazier:

We believe that a partner-track attorney can be passionate about world affairs and celebrity gossip. On the same day. During the same coffee break. And there is nothing wrong with that. Welcome to the year 2013.

Boom. Disruption. That’ll be $6,500,000, please.

Elizabeth Spiers (Lady-NY), who has played a role in launching some cute little websites herself, lined up to greet her liberator with flowers and candy:

For fuck’s sake, Goldberg, read some goddamned women’s sites. Talk to some advertisers who actually target women. Talk to some women! Try to produce one piece of content that is original and compelling and doesn’t make me feel like your writer is talking to me like I might have hit my head when I was a kid. And don’t make it about the subtle differences between mascara and eyeliner and think that linking it next to a Cliff Notes version of an AP story about Egypt telegraphs that you understand that women read the news, too.

Washington City Paper-alum Amanda Hess (Girl-CA) also immediately recognized the visionary thinking behind the concept:

In order to ensure that his writers’ intentions stay feminist, Goldberg has ensured that not too much of that $6.5 million trickles down to actual women. Bustle has offered to pay its freelance news writer, for example, $100 a day to produce four to six pieces of content daily. If Bustle’s writers received a living wage, they might start covering stories because they find them legitimately interesting, not because they feel like they have to eat to survive.

Adds Julie Gerstein: “There is nothing feminist about not valuing the work women do. And if you don’t value the women writing and editing for your site, it sends a pretty clear message to the women reading it.”

With up to 500 Patch employees to be laid off starting today, don’t blame hyperlocal, blame AOL’s version of hyperlocal. RiverheadLOCAL editor and publisher Denise Civiletti tells Ad Age, “Local doesn’t scale”:

Top-down hyperlocal news efforts such as Patch and The New York Times’ “Local” blogs have yet to prove successful, but many smaller, locally owned, community news sites are doing quite well. Operating at a smaller scale and with less funding, these smaller sites are finding profits where the biggest players are not … To be profitable, Ms. Civiletti argued, a local news site needs to produce a quality editorial product and keep overhead down, something large scale efforts like Patch have inherent trouble with. “I don’t see a network of hyperlocal sites supporting a corporate structure that has a lot of middle management,” she explained.

Other links from this week: