The Huffington Post reports that that The Blaze, Glen Beck’s signature site, is on the verge of shutting down due to poor management and diminishing staff.
It’s a surprising turn of events considering that Beck’s site had so much promise when it launched six years ago. Meant to serve as a conservative counterpart to Huffington Post, The Blaze’s editorial staff has fallen from 25 to six. One of those remaining staff members, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says that most within the company are looking for other work since they fear The Blaze will shut down soon.
‘The few people who are still left are looking for an exit because they know The Blaze is over. They haven’t told us straight up that they’re done with us, but all the signs point to it, and they’re not replacing people who are laid off or get out.’
Others at the site report that the the editorial team have had their phone and travel stipends removed and their health insurance reduced. Furthermore, The Blaze recently closed their Manhattan office in June and ordered the remaining reporters to work from him.
The site’s fall is a surprising one considering the scope of Beck’s media empire already included radio, television and publishing. In addition to original reporting, the site was well known for researching local stories that would appeal to their conservative base.
Such tactics proved to be a resounding success, with The Blaze attracting more than 31 million readers in October of 2014. Perhaps even more impressively, The Blaze managed to attract those readers without having to rely on referral traffic from Drudge Report. Unfortunately for The Blaze staff, it appears that success was short lived. By September of this year the Blaze’s traffic had fallen to just under 7.5 million.
As with many seemingly successful companies, the blame appears to lie with the upper-management. Beck undeniably has a talent for his work, but he appears to have bad judgement when it comes to management. The Blaze has had four CEOs since 2010, two of which left in 2015, and one of which Beck is currently involved in a lawsuit with.
‘We had everything when we started in 2010 ― a huge platform and following ― but management screwed it up with their incompetence,’ one source told Huffington Post. ‘They made so many stupid mistakes, and Glenn trusts the wrong people, who then go and hire other bad people.’
Current and former employees are convinced the site is a dying brand, but upper-management is trying to put a positive spin on things promoting their new brand “Project Phoenix, Blaze 2.0.” Red State Editor-in-Chief Leon Wolf was recently hired as the managing editor. CEO Stewart Padveen recently sent an email to staff promising that better things were to come.
‘In spite of some bad press and the challenges ahead, the word for what we are planning has started to trickle out. The black cloud of negativity and pessimism is slowly being replaced by a new wave of optimism about our future.’
Padveen’s upbeat tone was echoed in a statement made to the Huffinton Post regarding The Blaze’s future.
‘The Blaze is one of the top political and cultural news websites in the U.S. with an engaged and loyal audience of millions of visitors every month. We’re very excited to welcome Leon Wolf, a celebrated and influential leader in the industry, as our new managing editor. Leon will soon begin to build out a talented team of journalists to support him as we introduce our plans for the future of The Blaze.’
Other sources don’t share Pavdeen’s optimism. One said that Pavdeen has a track record of feigning optimism right before making massive layoffs. Another source told Huffington Post that that, even if “Project Phoenix” proved successful, The Blaze would still be dead.
‘When The Blaze launched, Glenn said that it would be a place for reported pieces and news, but the ‘Blaze 2.0’ relaunch will be sponsored content, community-generated content, and links to videos from Glenn Beck’s Blaze TV shows. The Blaze as we know it is dead.’
For now The Blaze is still around and it’s possible that “Project Phoenix” could prove to be the move that saves Glen Beck’s media empire, but so far that isn’t looking likely.
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