This comment was by Lisa Hickey in reply to Tamen on Rape Culture: Men, Women and Power
Tamen, thanks for asking [about our editorial process].
When we first started The Good Men Project, we set ourselves up like a traditional magazine — we had an Editor-in-Chief who oversaw everything, and who managed a team of editors underneath him. We got most of our content for free, but also paid for a few pieces that were written by journalists, edited and fact-checked according to strict editorial guidelines such as those used at the NYTimes and other mass media companies. That model, while it worked to get consistently well-written, thoughtful content out there, was unsustainable as a business model. We were putting time (and therefore $’s) into every piece that we simply could not gain back through advertising revenue. (currently our main source of revenue). In fact, the amount that it cost us to produce one piece of content that way was between 10 and 20 times the amount we could make in revenue.
So last June, we switched to an “Evangelist” model. We don’t pay for any content, and we have myself and one managing editor. We post 6-10 pieces of content a day. All of those pieces need to be logged, checked, sent back to the author if needed, copyedited, formatted, a licensed photo needs to be found, and the post needs to be looked at within the vision of what we are trying to accomplish. We deal with 5,000 comments a month. We have 368 contributor evangelists in this model, and in return for writing for us for free, we give them help with stories ideas, writing tips, ideas to grow their own social media platform and a network of engaged people who share their values. We get 1.2 pageviews a month. We need to deal with the press (like CNN) who asks for opinions and stories. We need to deal with technology issues, advertising issues and make sure we make enough money to survive. And we need to edit.
All of that is done with 2 full-time employees — me, and Ryan, our managing editor. Tom is a very trusted advisor, great content contributor, founder and strategic thinker. But he is not involved in the day-to-day on any of this. So that falls upon me, as publisher, to make sure all of the above gets done. Every day.
For our contributors — we look for people who agree with our vision of “sparking an international discussion about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century.” It is the phrase “Good Man” which is interesting. That phrase itself has two binaries — “Good” (which implies vs. bad) and “Men” (which implies vs. women).
The fact that “Good Man” is a double binary leads us down the path of having very provocative conversations around issues that are often polarizing. Combine that with the fact that we don’t have a paid editorial staff, and sometimes words get missed. Sometimes those words are inflammatory words. But the alternative would be to have a much much much slower conversation because we simply couldn’t post as much content. And then the small amount of money we do make would be even smaller. And there would be a good chance we couldn’t survive.
Any thoughts on how we could do things better are always welcome.
photo: rahego / flickr