There is a fine line between love and hate, I’ve been told, and an even finer line between editorial and advertising. It’s an interesting – and age-old – quandary that editors face: how do we remain independent in our storytelling, and yet still manage to make a buck?
Most of those questions have been answered, so all that is left is a bit of negotiating.
The Web, though, has thrown an interesting monkey wrench into the process, because so much of what we do online is about connecting people, linking information, and creating an information eco-system that allows people to easily – and seamlessly – move from bit to bit. That, at times, leads to what can be conceived of as a murky line between editorial integrity and sales.
With the redesign, though, we’re creating a very clear separation between both. So, how are we doing that?
It’s an interesting question that we’ve been mulling over here.
For all intents and purposes, we are integrating our editorial departments – magazine and online – into one team, which means the quality and style you’ve come to appreciate in the magazine will be represented in the same way online. What that means is every online offering we have – daily news stories, blogs, wire stories, the MIT Insider, and Innovation Futures – will be developed, written, edited, and published by one staff.
But that is only half the problem. The second part of the equation is creating an online advertising environment that 1) allows readers to navigate to what they want without being overcome with ad rage, 2) follows the strict guidelines created by editorial groups, and 3) meets the desires and needs for our advertisers.
To accomplish that, we’ve created a variety of placements and spaces which we believe are elegantly designed into the page and create a very usable – and useful – area for our readers. None of the ads on the home page are integrated into the editorial offers, and yet they’ve been designed as a graphic element on the page that will be visually pleasing. We’ve also adopted a rigid set of standards in terms of how advertisements will be labeled, so there is never any question about what is editorial and what is not.
With all of that said, however, I’m always interested in feedback from our readers – after all, ultimately we are here, by and large, because of your interests. When there are problems, concerns, or issues, I want to hear about them. So, please, feel free to comment throughout the month as I discuss more about the redesign – and don’t forget to sign up with URLex, and join the Technology Review group, where you can comment on the sites that we are using as we move forward.