PF: No. Extremely low-margin automated advertising where the middleman is elsewhere is the end game on that, and that has really sucked. And that has led to places that have very different models and very different approaches to content. It’s neither good nor bad. BuzzFeed is fundamentally... its business is an ad agency with a large amount of content production around it, but they don’t sell ads on their content, right? So that’s a really fundamentally different way. They can go get a bazillion journalists, but they’re not doing it the same way.
Gawker’s a little more classic. They’re putting those banner ads on stuff. The [New York] Times... the thing with the Times is you cannot get them to just give you a digital subscription. They are going to send you some paper, no matter what you do. I mean, not really no matter what you do, but I’ve tried to move stuff around and just go pure digital, and they really don’t want you to do it.
RD: Don’t they charge you more, for digital-only access?
PF: Yeah, they charge you more.
RD: They’re going to tax you for not doing things their way.
PF: As I’m saying that out loud, I’m like, “Uh-oh, should we be talking about that?” I don’t want to get them in trouble, because I have this weird internalized sense of guilt and shame about the publications that I’m involved with.
PF: Which is sort of crazy, too. I’m a little sick of everyone being like, “How are we going to preserve journalism?” I’m like, Journalism used to exist to… You know, it was show biz. It would satisfy somebody’s needs. They would buy it, because they wanted to know what was going on in the world, and that would give them power and authority.