With new community platform, GOOD CEO says, editorial is 'not the only voice'

GOOD relaunched its website this week as a "community platform." The company, which laid off its editorial staff earlier this year, has hired a mostly new editorial staff and will continue to produce a quarterly magazine, GOOD CEO Ben Goldhirsh said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

This was the change, Goldhirsh said, that he and GOOD's management felt was necessary when they let people go in June.

Goldhirsh said the Los Angeles-based company has 80 full-time employees, 60 of whom will be available to work on the website and magazine. (I checked this figure again Wednesday morning because I was worried I'd misheard him: "Yes. ... 60 focused on the community - the site, editorial, tech, outreach, partnerships, design, video," Goldhirsh wrote in an email.)

There will also be original editorial content on the site, he said, though I couldn't immediately fish any out when I took a spin on good.is Wednesday morning. Seven people are currently on the editorial team, which is still being built out but currently includes Joshua Neuman, David Mizner, Dave Burdick, Yasha Wallin, Meghan Neal, Liz Dwyer and Zachary Slobig. The company is also advertising several editorial positions.

Goldhirsh says "We’ve always had a hard time describing GOOD in one sentence," and that problem is not entirely dispatched by a tour of the new website. Members of GOOD's community can submit links to things they find interesting, like a story about an online bike-rental business or Richard Morgan's recent piece for The Awl about why he hasn't pursued U.S. citizenship. They can also post links to action items, like a campaign to get employers to give people the day off on Election Day. Community members can click a button that indicates they'll take part in such an event, or simply vote up content they like.

They can also follow other community members to see what they like and are commenting on.

Corporations, including clients of GOOD's marketing company, GOOD Corps, will not be able to set up accounts on good.is at the moment, Goldhirsh said, and they're evaluating whether they'll open up the platform in such a way. Nonprofits can go ahead and join. He said 80,000 to 100,000 people visit GOOD's website daily. Adding community functionality is just the latest in a line of experiments GOOD's made, he said, and he and the company's managers will evaluate whether the community platform is working "once data starts coming off this thing."

"The proof will be in the pudding," he said. "We’ll see how active this community is."

Other people writing about GOOD's relaunch: Hamish McKenzie raves about the new site, says platform plays such as this one are the "future of our Internet consumption habits" (PandoDaily) | Liz Gannes says GOOD's site "actually looks more like a sparsely laid-out online magazine than a social network" (All Things D) | Goldhirsh tells Charlie Warzel he "worked very hard to get [the laid-off employees] on board and they chose not to be and that’s why we had to part ways" (Adweek)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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