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Journalism’s Least Safe and Most Intriguing Site: - The Daily Beast

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The scandal’s traffic to Not Safe for Work didn’t last long. Most people skipped over to his site, read Nuzzi’s original posts, and moved on. Carr insists that’s OK, that he knows the future of his fledgling media outlet would never have lived or died on a single booming story or an incredibly lucky hire. He realizes that the only way he’ll succeed is by building a loyal flock of paid subscribers to the website, iPad edition, and/or print product—that’s right, he launched a print-journalism product, in 2012. He’s now at about 5,000 takers, who spend between $3 and $7 a month to read pieces on banking or meat ticks or serial child molesters. To stay afloat, he needs to double that figure, ideally by the end of the year. For the whole experiment to be a viable one, he needs to get to 30,000 subscribers. At 50,000, he says, “we never have to do anything for the rest of our lives.”

The “Weintern” only brought in maybe 100 new subscribers, Carr told The Daily Beast in a fast-talking interview littered with F-bombs and interrupted only by sips from a Diet Coke (he’s off the sauce). To succeed, he has to do great journalism that no one else is doing, at least not in the same way. And people have to find out about it, and like it so much that they’re willing to add one more monthly bill to their Pandora subscriptions and gym memberships and alimony payments.

Subscriptions are critical because Not Safe For Work doesn’t sell advertisements. If he sold ads, they’d only be profitable if the site generated bigger and bigger traffic, which would force him to “troll,” to chase the same search-engine-optimized stories that every other journo on the Web is searching for. He wants liberation from that yoke, a return to the heyday of journalism where editors told you what was interesting and because you trusted them and you were signed up to buy their product every day, they could count on a paycheck.


“The challenge is to have a consistent series of really great reporting,” Carr said. “It’s a gigantic fucking experiment.”

Gotta respect Paul Carr. He's doing what he loves.

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