The owners of LouisvilleMojo.com are shutting down the social-networking website’s news department after launching the ambitious initiative nearly eight months ago. According to a memorandum sent out by Louisville Mojo CEO Keith Ringer to editors, reporters and freelancers this morning, the company’s strategic shift was popular but didn’t pay off.
Effective 10 p.m. EST today, April 5, Metromojo will no longer retain the services of any freelance writers and reporters for work on LouisvilleMojo.com. The reasons for this abrupt change are numerous, but to summarize, we have not seen the news initiative result in suitable revenue contribution to support further investment.
After six years of publishing mostly user-generated content for social networking purposes, Mojo’s operators attempted to make a mark on journalism in the city last fall by offering news content online. The website maintained coverage on a myriad of issues and recruited a number of veteran reporters and bloggers, including former LEO Weekly columnist and local blogger Rick Redding as Mojo’s editor-in-chief.
Last year, LEO reported a fallout in the blogosphere after Redding abruptly left his post as the chief blogger at The ’Ville Voice — apparently without talking to his business partner and fellow blogger Jacob Payne — to head up Louisville Mojo’s news department.
“I’m going to be covering a lot of the same stuff I’ve been covering before,” Redding told LEO last fall. “Basically (I’ll be covering) what the people who have followed me at The ’Ville Voice have come to expect, know and like. Obviously, I think that they were reading it because of me.”
Advertisers, however, did not follow and were not focusing on those news readers.
“It was encouraging content. The great people, including Rick, who contributed to the news effort definitely are pushing the limits of what journalism is really all about,” says Ringer, adding the news department didn’t contribute to the company’s revenue. “A lot of existing news organizations in Louisville have taken pot shots and tried to blow it off as blog posting. But anyone who is not posting news to blogs in the future won’t be in business very long.”
UPDATE: Rick Redding has posted an update.