Slate Goes Feminist?

I’ve been seeing alot of chatter recently about feminism; even a male friend took the “which feminist are you?” quiz on facebook – and it all seems to be driven by the luanch of the new “feminist” blogzine Double X from Slate. The NY Times has an interesting take below.  I’ve spent some time on the site and not sure how I feel about it. As a child of the 70s I often tease my mom about being a part of the “bra burners” and setting the tone for “you can have it all” that has come under some backlash recently. So far while reading Double X there seems to be a decent amount of intelligent thought and discussion; but there is an undertone that i can’t put my finger on – parts of me feels it’s “angry” other parts feel it’s “in your face” too much; trying too hard. There has also been a decent controversy brewing over Double X versus Jezebel and whether either of them do well to portray current “feminist” thought. That Jezebel is taking us backwards in how women are viewed.

I definitely come from the generation that never would have decribed themselves as “feminist”. It was a word that always had the angry female connotation.  And perhaps it was because I was brought up in the land of equal rights. It was a given for me and many of my friends that we would always have the same opportunities as the boys we were around. When “Backlash” was published it definitely spoke to my generation. So now I’m wondering if Double X is supposed to even be for me? Is it for someone younger? It’s unclear.  Also I’m not sure that there needs to be a separation for political news and debate between the boys and girls; didn’t my mom and her generation fight hard to rid us of that?  Why can’t the current women centric sites raise the level of the debate amongst their already existing platforms and be taken seriously?  Does this mean that the original Slate is now a men’s mag? As someone who gets the niche marketing need – I just wonder about oversegmenting based on gender.  Hmmm perhaps I’m wrong – and maybe it’s time to start a Redbook for stay at home dads?

A Blog Geared to Women Yields a New Site for Slate

 

Article Tools Sponsored By By JENNA WORTHAM Published: May 11, 2009

The editors of a new Web site for women from the people behind Slate have Sarah Palin and Eliot L. Spitzer to thank. Their foibles, in part, supplied the gas to help transform a chatty blog into a full-blown Web magazine.

The new site, Double X, which is set to start publishing Tuesday, grew from a group blog created on Slate in October 2007 called The XX Factor, after the pair of X chromosomes in women. The blog featured commentary on politics, sex and culture from several women who write for Slate, including Meghan O’Rourke, Hanna Rosin and Emily Bazelon.

Driven in part by coverage of the presidential election from a woman-centric perspective, the blog consistently ranked as one of Slate’s top 10 features, leading the three women to propose that Slate turn the site into its own online hub.

“It became immediately obvious that a different kind of discussion happened when women were writing,” Ms. Rosin said.

“Women’s magazines never get it quite right,” Ms. O’Rourke added. “It seemed like an opportune moment to jump in and lead the conversation.”

The blog was performing well enough that the company agreed to the proposal, said Jacob Weisberg, Slate’s editor in chief. The three women are co-editors, and the managing editor is Jessica Grose, formerly an editor of the Gawker Media blog Jezebel.

“The appetite for women’s content has never been stronger,” Mr. Weisberg said of The XX Factor, which Slate says drew a million visitors a month.

To turn the blog into a full-fledged Web magazine, the site will draw from a number of contributors to include commentary and critiques of popular culture, film and television, home design and family life, along with features like personal narratives from women on surviving the recession. Double X has also formed a partnership with Google to offer a news feed focused on women on the site.

Although the editors describe the site as a savvy, intellectual, feminist antidote to glossy, celebrity-obsessed women’s magazines, it will not turn away male readers, which they say have made up 40 percent of the blog’s readership. The site has recruited several men to contribute essays about parenting and fatherhood as well.

Double X is the latest addition to the Slate Group, owned by The Washington Post Company, which has recently expanded its cluster of offerings to include a video site called Slate V, a financial analysis area called The Big Money, and The Root, a news and opinion site for black Americans.

Mr. Weisberg says he hopes that the steadily rising appetite for woman-centric content, which more than half of American Web surfers checked out in December, according tocomScore, will sustain the site despite the economic turmoil facing the media industry.

“It’s a nervous time to start anything new,” Mr. Weisberg acknowledged. But so far, he said, the response from advertisers has been promising. The site has been able to attract ad dollars from major consumer companies, including Sprint-Nextel.

Metric Crisis (as if there aren’t enough crises happening!)

Found this posting in mediaweek to be quite interesting. i had a long conversation with Russ Crupnick from NPD on Thursday and it was all around metrics. Russ’s co measures consumer opinion and tracks quite a bit of sales data; mapping psychology with sales.  We discussed the idea of measurement at length; and the new ways of measuring “engagement”.

So many new companies out there that measure the value of product integrations, the value of a consumer engagement, but so much of the attitude is still about the “big number”.  We still aren’t to the point where folks want to accept a smaller number with more meaning. The right 25,000 people instead of the wrong 2.5 million.

One of my favorite new co’s over the past few years is a company called divinity metrics; my friend and colleague mark levy is on their board. their measurement tools are incredible, the dashboards easy to use, the tracking phenomenal….the numbers are real, but inventing new benchmarks is a tough role to play during the “crisis”. You are lauded and despised all at once!

i don’t think we have gone back five years as someone is quoted below…but if we don’t accept the newer terms, the newer ideas and educate, educate, educate – we will be stuck in this place for the next 5 years; which isn’t something the world can afford.  Keep moving ahead…new day, new tools, new numbers. 

 

From Mediaweek

Updated: Crisis in Metrics, Say Digital Media Execs

May 6, 2009

-By Mike Shields

mw/photos/stylus/66261-HandonComputerM.jpg The most measurable medium’s metrics are a major mess.

That’s according to a group of digital media executives who participated in a measurement-themed panel session on Wednesday (May 6) at the Interactive Media Conference (hosted by Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek) in New Orleans. Jason Kint, senior vp, general manager, CBSSports.com, was particularly frank when asked about the state of online measurement, saying that the industry “has gone backwards in the past five years. There is a real crisis in metrics right now.”

A major source of the crisis, said Kint, is the proliferation of newer research sources that, while aiming to improve metrics, have only made things more confusing. For example, he mentioned the increasingly common practice buyers and sellers blending together panel-based figures from companies like Nielsen and comScore with data from analytics companies like Compete and Google, which can lead to inaccurate comparisons and conclusions. “It gets pretty crazy,” he said.

Another problem that stems from the Web’s inherent trackability, according to Christy Tanner, editor in chief and vp, marketing, TV Guide, is that too many publishers get fixated on driving up the measures that advertisers care about, such as page-views—without considering their site’s user experience. “If everything you do is based on [driving] advertiser metrics, you’re gonna lose your users,” she said.

CBSSports.com has tried to steer the conversation away from page-views and click-throughs toward time spent and user engagement (areas where it excels), but it has sometimes found it difficult to break ingrained habits, according to Kint. “A lot of the younger media buyers are looking at page-views and CPMs and click-through rates,” he said. “That’s what they are negotiating on.”

But to him, page-views have become “irrelevant.” He cited an example of a bracket tool that CBSSports.com launched earlier this year during the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. The tool proved to be popular among users, but because of the way it was designed—its content loaded on the site dynamically—it actually drove page-views down for that time period.

Video is in an even more challenged position, according to the panelists, since standards are lacking for even the most basic measures such as what constitutes a true video “view.”  Thus, the fast growing sector is subject to “bogus numbers,” offered Kint.

Online video syndication—an increasingly popular strategy for content creators–is particularly difficult to track, said Tanner. “We are not there yet with a really simple solution to track content on third parties,” she said. “What we really need is one analytics tool that tracks on-site traffic as well as the variety of syndicated products that we distribute, including video, widgets and other syndicated products.”

Yet another measurement challenge identified during Wednesday’s panel was clients’ increased desire for more custom ad packages. Those often require conducting proprietary research in order for sites to prove their value. And even then, not everything that is new and different can easily be benchmarked. Tanner cited the example of some TV advertisers looking to track chatter about particular shows–chatter that happens either off TV Guide’s site or on social platforms like Twitter. Often, “these are things you can’t measure or that may end up looking bad,” she said.