Everything that’s wrong with startup journalism (for journos)
1) Knacky sole editors, who wear a “know all” attitude. (Mostly happens with startup journalism companies with founder-co-founder scenario). Limits flow of information into the editorial team; team depends on single voice for advise and overtime editors become overloaded, and loose interest (IMO).
2) “Cherry picking and harassing” is common. If the chief-sole-editor wants and employee to be gone, either due to non-performance/grudges, they cherry-pick and make life hell for the junior writer. Mostly this happens since they need time find a replacement for the “soon-to-be-fired” reporter, and cherry picking and harassing the reporter all the way could finally force the reporter to leave the company.
3) “Editorial innovations comes to a standstill”. Most startup journalism newsrooms are virtual or very tiny. Even if there is a newsroom, flow of ideas, information is blocked because the team works on slack/emails, etc., with no personal or emotional involvement in reportage. This makes idea creations, style of reportage, and news invention “static”. Editorial becomes weak and uncertain because the same style of reportage/or/and same kind of stories are churned out. Readers get bored, and ditch.
4) Monetization. Since I have only worked on the newsroom side, im not really sure the difficulties faced by founder journos. With ad-blocking on the rise, very little room for google ads and banner to fetch any return on investment. Native advertising is difficult and requires an independent sales/marketing team, and at time founders themselves indulge in ad dept. This again comes as a disadvantage to the editorial team.
5) Every other story is “calling out” journalism. Most viewed stories or the once that go “viral” are those that “call out” companies, products, rivals, other startups, services, etc. for being shitty or violating rules/regulations/laws. This isn’t journalism. Anyone can callout shit out, and earn fame. Stuff happens when one digs even deeper and explain why, and talk to others, or people that you are calling out. Can’t just call-out and run. Becomes very political.
P.s: Pls keep adding (in comments). Pls don’t name any media houses, or founders, journos. Unless you are making a point. The list is here, because its here, and are real problems faced by founder journalists. I have worked with multiple startup reporting portals, and that is how I know all the above.