TechCrunch and Mashable – two of the most popular and influential blogs over the past several years – have recently seen major changes in their editorial staffs.
At TechCrunch, founder and lightning rod Michael Arrington left the company in September, highly visible writers Sarah Lacy and MG Siegler, and CEO Heather Harde followed suit. At the same time, Mashable has seen Jolie O’Dell, Jennifer Van Grove, Radhika Marya, Brenna Ehrlich and Erica Swallow all depart the company, and this morning it was learned that their most popular writer to-date, Ben Parr, has been fired.
TechCrunch and Mashable have been on similar paths of growth, and are now both seeing – for the first time – some major departures from the editorial staff. In fact, both outlets lost their most recognizable people (Arrington and Parr) who have built their own personal brands over the past several years.
This begs the question: are people reading TechCrunch and Mashable because the like the blogs themselves, or because they like specific bloggers? In today’s media world where social media is an extension of the blog itself, writers have become their own brands, and have built up quite a following – sometimes exceeding the popularity of the outlet they work for.
If I were to venture a guess, I’d say that Mashable will move on without any major hiccups, because their business model is more about the content then the person, and they have a lot of very good writers. However, TechCrunch has always been about Arrington and took on his personality – both good and bad. Without him on board, they need to figure out what their direction is.
What do you think? Do you read TechCrunch and Mashable because of the content they publish, or because of the people writing the content?