Building the digital culture at Fortune magazine
Aaron Task, the digital editor of Fortune magazine, was interviewed by Farnoosh Torabi about how he changed what was going on at Fortune’s web operations when he joined in September 2015.
Here are some excerpts:
I came to a place that had a brand that been around since the 1920s, great culture of journalism but really, very limited digital know how and experience. And so I had brought what I had learned at TheStreet.com and Yahoo Finance and MSN before then to Fortune with really a focus on we have to make it a destination, a must read every day. What are the stories that people are talking about in our world, in the world of money and finance? Every day, what are the stories that they’re talking about? What’s our angle on them? And let’s tackle it and let’s get at it. Because frankly when I got here, in the digital side of Fortune was operating like the magazine. People would come in, have a cup of coffee, think about what they wanted to do that day, then start writing at about 11 o’clock and then go to lunch.
Yeah and maybe they’d sneak in a workout and I just had to put a stop to that and basically bring in the more focused attitude on getting started earlier. I’ve got editors in place now in London and Hong Kong. We had people in San Francisco. So effectively we’re now a 24/7, maybe not seven, but we’re almost a 24/7 news operation, which we weren’t certainly when I started here. Yeah, that was mandate No. 1. And we did increase traffic I’m proud to say and that was just 35 percent in the first six months on the job versus the prior year.
Understand, again it was a very odd situation to have a place that had been a part of CNN Money, which is a huge website itself. They never had to worry about traffic because they had a fire hose with CNN Money. So the idea that you have to fight for traffic every day, I had to teach them that and I give credit to the staff. They took to it quickly, they adjusted to it and they delivered on the traffic goals that we had for ourselves.
Listen to the podcast here.