So what exactly led to the departure of Portfolio.com editor Chris Jones? We don’t know. But we have a hard time swallowing today’s report in the NY Observer, which says that Chris left because…his bosses wanted to make money.
Observer writer John Koblin cites two sources who say that Chris left after butting heads with Portfolio.com GM Ari Brandt. What’s head-scratching is this assertion:
According to two sources [presumably the same cited above] at Portfolio, the general manager of digital media, Ari Brandt, formerly of Yahoo!, has been increasingly trying to assert control over the Web site, which was originally expected to be run jointly by the editorial and business sides. In recent weeks, Mr. Brandt has been suggesting that the business side should have a bigger role in the Web site and, said one source, has been using the phrase “return of investment programming [sic]” to argue that the site’s content should be evaluated on its ability to generate page visits and hits, rather than its journalistic quality.
We hate to sound like loot-crazed mercenaries, but figuring out what people like to read, and producing more of it, is the basic idea behind any ad-supported website, and we don’t think that would come as a surprise to Chris, who headed up Yahoo Finance before heading to Portfolio. Hard to imagine he was shocked, shocked, to learn that Conde Nast is a for-profit operation.