I enjoyed reading this NY Times article
about the revitalization of The Atlantic
. While a number of factors went into this process, two elements--from an editorial perspective--were key: attracting people to the site using (1) high profile bloggers (most notably, in this case, Andrew Sullivan
and (2) a page that aggregates material (in this case, The Atlantic Wire
My first thought upon reading the article: we (TCR, the Lab) should replicate the model. The Atlantic
has a team of bloggers who cover politics and culture. Though the lion-share of the traffic goes through Sullivan, the other bloggers draw traffic as well. Is it realistic to think that a similar team could be constructed for education and that this team would be able to blog with the frequency and skill required to draw and keep an audience? What about aggregation? The Atlantic Wire is attractive because it always feels relevant and important. While education reporting has its moments that compare to this--the release of international test scores; political decisions that impact education; extreme examples of school violence, school incompetence or school achievement--I wonder if there is enough here to make an aggregating site in education powerful enough to draw and attract an audience.
I think these are good questions to ask, especially as we consider the future of TCR and other Lab publications. Education is a topic that everyone is at least superficially interested in, but I have a hard time thinking about how a publication can develop that interest into building a large and dedicated audience. This isn't to express skepticism about the effort--I think TCR has done a good job growing its audience through new offerings (The Voice, its commentaries)--but it is to wonder how we can bring more views to a publication that is solely devoted to education.