An interesting tidbit from the whole TechCrunch controversy going on right now is MG Siegler’s (the one TC author I’ll always read) insight into the hiring & editorial processes (or lack thereof) at TechCrunch:
First and foremost, the concept of an “editor” at TechCrunch is essentially just a title and nothing more. Generally speaking, neither Mike nor Erick (TC’s two “co-editors”) are overlords that dictate what everyone else covers. With a few exceptions (mainly for newer writers), no one person even reads posts by any other author before they are posted.
Traditional journalists may be appalled to learn this. But this is a big key of why TechCrunch kicks their ass in tech coverage. We’re fast and furious in ways they can’t be, because they’re adhering to the old rules. Are there benefits to those old rules? Sure. But in my opinion, the benefits of the way we work far outweighs the benefits of the way they work.
If you want a more objective take, simply look at the number of tech stories we’ve broken over the years versus the number any old school publication has. Our system works.
And it works because instead of a reliance on top-down management and editing, the emphasis is on hiring the right people. TechCrunch works because we’re a bunch of driven reporters with great instincts that excel at working independently. Sometimes junior writers hone those instincts by watching senior writers and asking questions. And there is plenty of good, healthy collaboration. But for the most part, it’s very a much a trial by fire — only the strong survive.
I’ve written before about how traditional media’s business model is on its way out. Today a single blogger like John Gruber can singlehandedly write the most popular Mac blog out there without an editor telling him what to do.
It’s part of the bigger trend in all industries that people need to be accountable and take ownership for being great. No longer are we in an industrial-era style economy where the peons sit around waiting to be told how to make something great.