Rachel Maddow Hires Blog Guru To Boost Online Profile

rachel maddow tbiRachel Maddow wants to expand her online presence.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has a new blog: The Maddow Blog, which she’s quietly been soft-launching for the past few months.But it’s not so quiet or soft anymore.

Maddow spoke with The New York Observer’s Felix Gillette about her new web platform, which resulted from her wanting to have more of an online presence.

As Gillette notes:

For much of its brief history, the genre of blogs penned by big name TV news anchors (and the staffs on their shows) has been profoundly underwhelming … most TV news-anchor blogs have launched with lots of hype and soon settled into a comfortably numb mix of self-promotion and earnest cud-chewing.

But if done right, blogging can be a way for news anchors to bring clicks to their networks’ websites and distinguish themselves from the people with whom they’re vying for ratings.

Maddow apparently thought it was important enough to deflect money away from her television program.

When there was an opening for a new segment-producer head for “The Rachel Maddow Show” late last year, Gillette reports, Maddow and her team decided to invest in a web staffer instead.

They hired Laura Conaway, formerly an executive editor of The Village Voice, who is the blog’s main contributor along with a handful of Maddow’s staff members.

Over the course of several months, Ms. Maddow and her team worked with people at www.msnbc.msn.com to create a staff blog with a look, feel, and metabolism significantly different from the portal’s typical template. The result is a blog that is a distinctive looking mix of political news, liberal analysis, embedded videos (often to non-MSNBC footage), and links to recommended articles.

As for traffic:

Ms. Maddow said that so far the major concern of the digital folks–that the text-based re-design would result in a drop in the substantial number of people coming to the old Web site to watch segments from the show–hasn’t materialised.

“We’ve done fine,” said Ms. Maddow. “We haven’t paid a price in terms of overall video clicks. That hasn’t suffered. And we’re able to do all of this additional content that is, for me, rewarding and rewards the show in terms of ideas.”

Read more at The New York Observer >>

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