Everyone knew this day would come, and it highlights one of the big pitfalls (for news organizations) in internet publishing. What happens when a person is your brand?
I wrote about this conundrum back in June 2010:
I usually advise people to avoid making one person their “social media guy/gal,” opting instead for a team-oriented effort. The problem is that if the one person leaves, your brand is left stranded while you look for someone else to fill the role. On the other hand, if you have someone that good or that well-known, you’d be stupid not to take advantage of their (quasi or actual) celebrity.
This isn’t a problem unique to the internet — NBC, for example, is trying to figure out what the hell to do with the Today Show when Matt Lauer leaves — but it is more problematic in the sense that, generally speaking, websites don’t have the ability TV networks do to bring in big stars to replace their departing big stars.
So what happens?
Nothing, and Poynter will be just fine, if not the same Poynter it was during the Romenesko years.
Like I said before, any site would be crazy not to let a blogger’s fame blow up and take the site along with it. It’s always fleeting, but so what? You ride the wave, and when it’s over, you do your best to keep it going.
It’s a fact of life that media organizations would do well to get used to, and they might look to an arena outside their profession to figure out how to react: pro sports. Your stars will come and go. The glory years never stick around as long as everyone wishes, but that’s life, and that’s business.
The best you can do is give your stars the ability to thrive while their with you and if you can say you did that at the end of it all, it was worth it.