Mediaite Makes Its Debut


Media-news Website Mediaite launched Monday, albeit with some server issues, and publisher Dan Abrams, former general manager of MSNBC and legal analyst at NBC, explained his vision for the site in a post aptly titled, “A Note from Dan Abrams.”

For me, this site is the manifestation of a vision I have had for many years. When I was general manager of MSNBC, I helped create a segment called “Beat the Press,” which I then continued on my show Verdict. In that segment, I had some fun with media hypocrisy, gaffes and self-righteousness. Some of that same sensibility will be evident here—except this time I am not making the calls. While I have certainly helped create the tone and direction of Mediaite, now that the site is live, I will take on the role of publisher. I will continue to help guide and manage the business side of the site, but the editorial decisions will be left entirely to the editorial staff.

In an interview with The Washington Post‘s Howard Kurtz, Abrams described Mediaite as “Huffington Post meets Gawker” and said, “Part of what we’re doing is appreciating the celebrity of the media.”

Speaking of “appreciating the celebrity of the media,” one of the interesting features of Mediaite is its Power Grid, which ranks the top 215 TV anchors/hosts, top 290 TV reporters, top 39 media moguls, top 59 TV titans, top 71 magazine editors, top 147 TV pundits, top 85 newspaper/online editors, top 84 radio hosts, top 51 TV executives, top 283 print/online reporters, top 204 print/online columnists and top 21 magazine titans. How are they ranked? “Mediaite’s proprietary algorithm derives these rankings from many industry and internet buzz factors,” the site says.

In fact, the Power Grid was among the reasons Abrams cited for staying out of the editorial end of the site, saying in his note:

I don’t know that I would be perceived as fair in reporting on someone like Jeff Zucker (ranked No. 1 on our TV Titans list). Jeff made my career as a reporter and had the faith to make me general manager of MSNBC. When I asked to go back to hosting a show, he let me do just that and, later, when MSNBC later replaced Verdict with the more network-appropriate Rachel Maddow Show (which I really like…Rachel is No. 40, btw), Zucker, along with NBC News president Steve Capus (No. 7) and MSNBC president Phil Griffin (No. 38), went out of their way to offer me a number of other on-air positions, including another regular MSNBC anchor slot and fill-in time hosting the Today show.

Abrams continued in his note:

Why would I give up the opportunity to edit my own site? There are a number of reasons. Most important, however, I want this site to be viewed as objective—tough and opinionated—but not the Dan Abrams Post. I have strong feelings about many in media and will write opinion columns for the site, but the editorial team will determine the editorial content. When you think about the team we have assembled, it’s easy to understand why I feel so comfortable—managing editor Colby Hall, editor-at-large Rachel Sklar (former Huffington Post media editor), senior editor Glynnis MacNicol (former FishbowlNY editor) and TV editor Steve Krakauer (former TV Newser editor) (among others)—are top of class.