The Next Step — For T/S And Me

Forbes building in NYC
Forbes building. Image via Wikipedia

Is not yet clear.

True/Slant will change for good after the end of June when Forbes takes over. We had two conference calls this week with Lewis Dvorkin, T/S founder who made the sale and is now going to run the next iteration of this site.

I want to keep writing as I have been here since July 1, 2009 — with a growing audience, terrifically smart and fun followers and the freedom to say whatever I think needs to be said.

We own our own content so if I move this site — and I will give you plenty of notice when and where to find me — archives are also accessible.

Frankly, it’s been a week of a blizzard of calls and emails: between me and fellow writers here; colleagues elsewhere concerned for my future; scrambling, now, to replace the steady income I earned here by accumulating 10,000+ unique visitors every month since January.

My focus right now is: 1) write for the next month, here, as always; 2) finish my retail memoir, “Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail” (whose potential cover design I saw this week and loved!) 3) figure out what place, if any, my interests and skills may have with Forbes’ version of this site.

I have never been happier as I have writing here. Mostly, right now, I’m — as the British satirical magazine Private Eye loves to say — a little “tired and emotional.” (That’s their euphemism for drunk.) Nope.

Just….trying to make sense of what’s just happened. We (the T/S writers) simply don’t have a lot of information right now with which to make any sudden or definitive moves.

I hope you’ll stick around for a bit, and, if I do wander off, that we’ll continue the party elsewhere. It’s been an amazing experience.

21 thoughts on “The Next Step — For T/S And Me

  1. evyb

    Thanks for keeping us posted! As always,sending you good thoughts and wishing you some peace as you weather this storm. Everything seems to happen at once doesn’t it? I myself have been caught off guard and feel helpless by this.

    All your readers that follow you Caitlin(yes, I am going to speak for everyone!), support you!

    Do what is best for you and your true supporters will be honored and blessed to follow you where ever your journey takes you next!

    You are in my thoughts. Please know as you go forward…we will be behind you whenever and wherever.

  2. Caitlin Kelly

    Thanks. I had very high hopes for T/S in its current form, so we are all spinning on a dime right now.

    I’ll try to keep posting good stuff for y’all as we try to figure out the next bit. I would feel sad to lose such a great community we have here and I tend to be a somewhat (!) determined person so failure is not an
    option, right?

  3. citifieddoug

    Me too. For your sake, I hope any changes will be for the better. For my sake, I’ll just make any necessary updates to my RSS feed and keep following.

  4. ladyjane

    Even if you don’t end up with the Forbes version of True/Slant, it looks like wherever you’re going, you’re not going alone. Here’s another assurance that you will be taking this reader (along with so many others) with you, no matter where you end up on the internet.

    Also, I look forward to your book!

  5. Caitlin Kelly

    Ladyjane and Doug, thanks.

    I’m excited about the book as I expect to finish it within the month. I hate finishing a book as I love diving really deeply into a topic, but I have two more ideas my agent’s interested in, so who knows?

    My ideal life, if I could make it work financially, would be the quick, connectedness of blogging — which I love — and the long. slower “deep dive” of a non- fiction project. And I’d live several months of the year in Paris as I did both.

    Writing this blog has tremendously helped my confidence about writing memoir, which is fairly terrifying compared to straight reporting (which this book also offers.)

  6. Claudia Deutsch

    And I, for one, fervently hope that wherever we land, be it Forbes or some other piece of cyberspace realty, we wind up at the same place. It is such fun being your colleague (I REFUSE to put that in the past tense!)

  7. Since I just went fangirl for your writing not long ago, I belatedly discovered your book Blown Away, and as a concealed permit-carrying member of the NRA, I fully intend to read it. I should send you the scanned picture I have of the paper target I annihilated last summer when I went shooting with my dad for my first try at firing hand guns. My boyfriend jokes that if anyone breaks into the house, he’s just going to hand the firearms to me. Rest assured, wherever you go, your readers are sure to follow. You offer refreshing views and aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty with the grime of what you feel you want to write about.

  8. Caitlin Kelly

    Cool! As the book will tell you — and you already know — women are often better shots than men; many coaches told me this. We don’t emerge from the womb assuming we know how to handle a firearm so we tend to listen and heed instruction (much) better as a result. The irony is that women are often portrayed — OMG!! — as more emotional than men, but when it comes to guns we actually show them more respect and handle them accordingly.
    Let me know what you think of the book (and tell your friends!)…It was amazing fun, in some ways, doing the research: I went to Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Orleans.

    One of the funniest moments of our relationship, very early into it, was the day I met the sweetie in a crowded midtown Manhattan bar — and brought in my targets to show him how tight my cluster was. “Look, honey!” Boy, did we get plenty of room to ourselves. In NYC, people make faces like I smell bad for even writing about gun use even-handedly. There is reflexive gun hatred that, while I understand some of it, is often based in deep ignorance.

    What do you shoot?

    1. citifieddoug

      I would put it more like this: women are more likely to mistake the purpose of shooting a gun for hitting a target.

    2. I hope you enjoyed Texas; it’s my native state and where my parents still live today. While I visited there, I shot a Kimber Raptor .45, a snub nose 357 with .38s, and a few other assorted calibers and pieces. I think the Kimber was my favorite, and I’m currently saving to purchase my own. I’m also a fan of The Judge, which I intend to purchase for home defense.

  9. When I discovered True/Slant a few months ago you were one of the first Contributors I followed, Caitlin. I have enjoyed immensely your straightforward approach to your topics and the distinctiveness of your personal voice.

    Having only joined T/S as a Contributor in May, I certainly have nowhere near the investment in the site that you do. Still, I feel a keen disappointment that the “new” T/S will almost certainly not be a home for writers like me who don’t have a business focus. (I didn’t realize that made me a “generalist” until this all came down.)

    You obviously have the background and the talent to bend in the new direction if you choose that route, Caitlin, but I will be watching to see if also find another place where you can share your personal reflections, and hope to see you there.

  10. Caitlin Kelly

    Thanks, Jeffery! It feels as though I’ve rowed really, really hard…possibly in the wrong direction! I, too, am a generalist although I did a content analysis of my 700+ posts and found that 100 of them, 1/7th, are on business or finance. So, maybe I’ll find a spot within the new T/S. That’s up to Lewis, not me.

    I intend to keep doing what I’ve been doing here; just got to figure out where on the ‘net that will be. It’s too much fun to abandon — and I have loved the conversations with all the people who comment and visit. For some (thank God!) reason, the crazies and haters have stayed away in droves.

  11. robin27

    Good luck! I myself am going through a merger/acquisition at my job and I understand that nervous blend of change and excitement that it brings. Here’s hoping both us find comfort in change a new little niches to carve out for ourselves! I’ll certainly find you wherever you go.

  12. Caitlin Kelly

    Suzanna, I shoot best and easiest with a Glock 9mm. Like Goldilocks, I tried almost every possible caliber from a .22 to a .357 Magnum so I could understand how they felt in my hand and shooting them.


    robin, thanks…Best of luck to you in your transition. Cultural change is tough when you’ve chosen a place *for* its fit and felt so at home there. I’ll let you know as soon as I do where to find me.

  13. Neal Ungerleider

    Caitlin, you’ve been (and are) one of my favorite writers at True/Slant. Regardless of the future of your blog, I’m looking forward to reading your book.

    Like you, I feel like I’ve found a home here that’s all too rare in the journalism world.


  14. Caitlin Kelly

    I’m really touched. Thanks so much. I’ve enjoyed your stories from a part of the world I don’t know personally that gets so little non-typical coverage.

    I’m hoping we’ll all stay in touch on FB as well. Sigh.

  15. john

    I wouldn’t get to anxious just yet. It always takes time for the acquiring entity to fully understand what it just bought. True/Slant’s popularity was generated by it’s contributors, not the system that you use to publish. In other words, taken as a whole it is your collective draw that makes the site work, so it would take a breathtaking lack of vision to arbitrarily dismantel that engine just because the ownership changed.

    Now, I would expect that at some point the contributor pool would indeed be trimmed, but if I understand the model, and I think I do, the market will take care of that. If my hunch is correct, it should be very cheap to host a contributor so the more of you the better. I’m sure there is some measure of your marginal contribution in terms of page views and thus advertising revenue, but that’s just the start of things. Syndicating content online, and perhaps in their magazine are other possibilities so you just never know.

    Caitlin, you’re always one of the most active contributors, thus, you’re one of the people drawing readers like me, and let me tell you, once Forbes understands our demographic, the demographic of your average reader, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about much. Just keep doing your thing and keep growing that base baby. . .

  16. Caitlin Kelly

    John, thanks.

    Part of our challenge is that we don’t have a lot of data yet about what Forbes does or does not intend to do, or what, if anything, it wants to keep. Many of us are wondering and several have already pre-emptively bailed, as Alison Kilkenny — a very popular contributor — did today. Part of this is also cultural fit; T/S gave us tremendous freedom editorially and I am someone who does not focus narrowly on one topic, as every classic blogger (who can attract ads) does. We’ve been told that’s what they will want…

    I have plenty of straitjacket-like markets out there in print. The great joy here was not having to trim my sails to a skipper’s command.

  17. john

    Anyone who bails before they know what is what is simply acting out of fear, and that’s not a good reason to anything. Clearly, prudence means you need to consider your options and perhaps actively look around for other possible homes, but doing something rash in the first few days is ridiculous. That said, I’m sure losing a few voices out of fear should prompt management to action and begin securing their property before it’s just an empty shell.

  18. Caitlin Kelly

    I agree with you, in principle. Having spoken to several — many — T/Sers this week, there’s a mixed bag of reactions. Some are sitting tight. Some bailing are *not* doing it from fear at all but knowing realistically there is no fit for their political views or specialty within the new editorial structure.

    I am a generalist. They do not want generalists. So change will come. Need more data!

    There is yet another issue that many of us have been laid off, sometimes several times, in this industry in the past few years — even the younger journos here. When one of your few options is to leave before being shoved out (again), it can look appealing.

    I’m thinking of Kate on “Lost” — counting slowly to five.

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