TVNewser FishbowlDC AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote PRNewser SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

What is the Right Editor-to-Contributor Ratio?

When AOL’s Patch announced it was, uh, acquiring (not hiring, as they will be unpaid) 8,000 new bloggers, Venture Beat editor Matt Marshall wrote a post highlighting the editor-contributor problem they would soon be facing:

It takes at least 20 percent of extra management to organize it all — that is, AOL will need at least 1,500-2000 extra editors to manage the writers, if you take the editor-writer ratio norm of other major news organizations.

At Street Fight, Toby Murdock, co-founder and CEO of Kapost, questions the tried and true logic: “But do we have to accept that overhead ratio of one editor for every four contributors in stone?”

In our discussions with editorial teams, a good amount of [editorial management] is administration: tracking editorial calendars, figuring out payment, etc. Productivity gains consistently come through technology that automates repeatable tasks such as these…

Editors’ tasks can largely be automated, hmm? It’s a bold theory. So what should take over as the ideal editor-contributor ratio? Writes Murdock: “Kapost has numerous customers with a 1:10 editor to contributor ratio.”

More unpaid bloggers, fewer paid editors, plus one very wealthy owner. Welcome to new media.

Mediabistro Course

Travel Writing

Travel WritingStarting September 23, learn how to turn your travel stories into published essays and articles! Taught by a former Vanity Fair staff writer, James Sturz will teach you how to report, interview, and find sources, discover story ideas and pitch them successfully, and understand what travel editors look for in a story. Register now!