New editor at TheStreet.com wants interesting, provocative content
Janet Guyon, who became editor in chief of TheStreet.com three months ago, has a lot of business journalism experience in her career.
For the past year, she has been managing editor of Investopedia, the world’s largest site devoted to investor education.
As the managing editor for FINS.com, a Dow Jones website, she managed the team creating editorial content for jobs website of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. Its monthly uniques nearly tripled from November 2010, driven by higher quality content, and the site won 2011 Society of American Business Editors and Writers Best in Business Award for General Excellence of a website under 2.5 million monthly unique visitors. The site was sold in 2012 to Dice Holdings.
As the managing editor of Bloomberg.com from 2007 to 2009, she tripled traffic to 350 million monthly page views with 16 million monthly unique visitors by May 2009, helping grow ad revenue 47 percent in 2009.
Guyon also spent 18 years at The Wall Street Journal and nine years at Fortune magazine, where she covered a number of different industries, including telecommunications, technology, and marketing.
Guyon spoke Thursday morning by telephone with Talking Biz News about her new job and her plans for TheStreet. What follows is an edited transcript.
What attracted you to the position at TheStreet?
Elisabeth DeMarse came in a couple of years ago as chief executive officer to turn the business side around, and I saw that as a great opportunity work with her and run the editorial team. We were LinkedIn friends. We didn’t know each other. TheStreet is a great brand name. It is the first real financial, digital publication.
How is it different than Bloomberg or FINS?
It’s got a lot of similarities with Bloomberg in particular because it has a lot of focus on the market. FINS and Dow Jones was a career site, but the ecosystem of The Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch and some of the Dow Jones websites lends itself to very well to what I am doing at TheStreet. That is TheStreet’s mission.
What did you learn at those places that you can apply to TheStreet?
There are so many things that I don’t know where to start. I have a long history of company coverage at The Journal. I have experience from the web at Bloomberg and Dow Jones and consulting work I have done. I did consulting work where I saw how the back end of some websites worked. All of that experience will translate well into what we can do here.
Where do you see TheStreet’s role in financial journalism?
What I have been trying to communicate here is that we do not want to do news. We want to be on the news. We need to analysis, opinion and interesting, provocative insights into the world of investing.
Do you see that in other financial media?
I see pieces of it elsewhere, but I don’t see really a sharp focus on that.
Where can TheStreet improve?
Like everybody on the web these days, we need to have great distribution, whether partners or SEOs. But my experience is that it all comes back to the content. The content is the product. You have to have interesting, provocative content, and that is what we will do.
TheStreet has made a big push in video in recent years. Will that continue?
Our video is going to be cutting edge for us. We have a state-of-the-art studio. We know how to do that. The producer I used at CNN is here, so we know each other well.
How has the model of using non-staffers for a lot of your content working?
This is a model that every web organization uses. It is something that you have to do in the way that revenue is structured on the web. It is not very different from an old-style magazine where you have freelance contributors and a small core of full-time staff writers. This is not a new invention.
A lot of the company’s content is behind a paywall. Is that where the future growth will be?
That’s a little bit above my pay grade. But my answer to that would be yes. We have a subscription business, and it is an important thing. It’s not my expertise, but I like that we have a subscription model. The New York Times has shown that you have to have a robust subscription model on the web as well as an advertising model. That is just my personal opinion.
We have our biotech team working on that. I have to remind Adam [Feuerstein, who covers biotech for TheStreet] today that is his first priority.
What is it like working with Jim Cramer?
I think he’s great. He has been supportive. He has so much energy it is amazing.
Where would you like to see TheStreet in five years in terms of editorial content?
I see us with provocative, interesting content that helps retail investors understand what to do with their money. I think we have a really good team here. It is friendly and supportive, and in journalism that is kind of tough these days. I hope to build on that culture.