Talent As The Product

First it was Nate Silver taking his FiveThirtyEight blog from the New York Times to ESPN. Now Nikki Finke seems likely to move Deadline Hollywood from Penske Media (publisher of Variety and others). Finally Dow Jones announced it is parting ways with Kara Swisher, Walt Mossberg and their All Things Digital franchise. It too will find a new home (and name–DJ owns the old one).

These three websites flourished, passing traffic back-and-forth with their respective motherships. Now the high profile writing talent will play elsewhere. They’re the product. They’re cashing in.

I always thought of Silver, Finke, Swisher and Mossberg as ‘work-for-hire’ writers with little ability to leverage their individual popularity. Could I have been any more wrong?

Are all the writers I know prematurely pessimistic?

Tech blogger (and semi-neighbor in nearby Newport Beach) Danny Sullivan just tweeted:

Danny Sullivan ‏@dannysullivan
The short term price for tech reporters just shot up dramatically, by the way.

It’s a brave new world. The rules are changing by the minute.