David Hauslaib: You know I think from very early on . . . I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was my Connecticut experience, but definitely growing up led me to where it was. And you know I would hate the identification that I was a computer nerd, but I was on the computer when I was young, even into middle school. And you know it was probably in the late ‘90s when I started my first web site. It was like a technology news site. And that really introduced me to online publishing, and I could spend hours at the computer in my bedroom exploring the Internet, which was a whole different thing then than, you know, what it’s become today. But certainly it was those formative years that led me to where I am now.
Question: Did you get into the Internet on your own?
David Hauslaib: I guess you know on my own. Back then it was dialup Internet and it was crap, and there wasn’t really much that you could do. But I, you know, had a very hands on look at how things developed from week to week and month to month and then beyond that. So to sort of see all these technologies develop, I was sort of in on the ground floor.
Question: How did the idea for Jossip begin?
David Hauslaib: Sure. So Jossip started in 2003 while I was still a university student at Syracuse University. And I was in the Jay School there, and one of my majors was magazine. And I had hopes and dreams of working, you know, in publishing in Manhattan. And that was the route that I was headed down. It didn’t work out that way. I started Jossip really to get my name out there. I also seemed to offend all of the potential people that would hire me, so you know that MO didn’t really work out. But what did happen is I realized, you know, there’s a market for this and there’s an audience for it, and you know I can make my livelihood from it. So Jossip started, you know, sort of for all intents and purposes in my dorm room, and really grew from there to where it is now, which is four web sites. We reach seven million people a month. We’re doing alright financially. You know and we’re just . . . have a lot of momentum right now.
Question: What is Jossip and what is your role within it?
Hauslaib: So Jossip . . . Jossip.com, our flagship blog, is an insider media and celebrity title. So essentially while we do cover celebrities, we cover them from the behind the scenes perspective. We’re more interested in how a tabloid magazine or a publicist might spin a story versus, you know, the regular fodder that most outlets are reporting. And then we take that approach and really apply it to the various industries that go on in Manhattan – whether it’s night life, fashion, food, finance and really sort of go behind the scenes and take a look at what isn’t so apparent to everybody else. And my role with Jossip is, you know, steer-heading it on a day-to-day direction, doing big picture things, working my network of sources, and really sort of growing that brand.
Question: How is Jossip different than mainstream tabloids?
David Hauslaib: You know it’s with . . . You know there’s a whole industry of very mainstream celebrity coverage. And that encompasses the tabloids to, you know, primetime shows like Access Hollywood and the Insider. And now this . . . I hate to use the word “burgeoning” anymore because these blogs are on the scene, and they aren’t about to compete. They aren’t one day in the future going to compete with these other outlets. They’ve been doing it for months and a couple of years at this point. So in that overall landscape, you know, the tabloid magazines do certain things well. The . . . You know the prime . . . The shows on television do other things well. I like to think we do it best. You know what we do is we offer a level of transparency. When you’re watching a show that NBC universal is putting out that’s a very publicity friendly machine, you’re not gonna get the real story. They have corporate interests in mind. They have certain stars and movies and projects to promote. Our job is to make things more transparent and give our readers a window into what’s going on behind the scenes.
Question: Who is consuming this medium?
Hauslaib: I think that is an accurate understanding of the old gossip consumer. I think, you know, for all of humanity we’ve been interested in gossiping about other people. When we’re talking about public figures, you know, exponentially more so because they’re so famous. But . . . I lost my train of thought. What was the original question?
Hauslaib: Who is consuming it? And so I think, you know, now we’re at the point where my biggest slice of readership are 9 to 5ers sitting at their desks. Most of them do work in media. Many do not. Some are students. Some are sitting at a job at a Fortune 500 company who are, you know, rabid consumers of this information. They like being able to get the inside scoop right away. And I think that’s why this medium and sites like mine have become so popular and, you know, so much more mainstream in and of themselves . . . is because there’s this audience that’s essentially been neglected or didn’t have a reasonable outlet to consume this information. If you’re working an office job, you can’t flip open Us Weekly. You can’t necessarily flip on the news. But you can log onto these web sites because maybe they’re working in Microsoft Excel and they have to do this anyhow, so . . .
Recorded on: Jan 23 2008