Jim Spanfeller on Editing Forbes.com

The CEO describes a sophisticated editorial approach that produces thousands of stories a day.
  • Transcript


Question: What is the editorial process at Forbes.com?


Spanfeller:    It’s a 24/7 type of operation.  We’re publishing 5,000 stories a day.  Now clearly we don’t write of 5,000 stories but they are made up in roughly 3 or 4 different buckets.  Obviously, the first bucket is the most important bucket, ones that are written… write it, are written by our staff.  It’s a staff of full time and part-time online people that was originally 375 journalist will now combined the offline and online staffs together, so we’re pumping around 700 journalist that are going to be reporting on some regular fashion throughout the course of a week or a month on the site and they all write a great many stories.  We then also have wire services which will contribute you know, the regular sort of what happen and when type of story then we’ll have contempt partners.  And at this point I think we’re up over 250 different contempt partners that will file to the site and fairly those filters that we placed on those partners are ones that make the selections that do appear on the site more Forbesian if you will.  But those partners arrange everything from a paidcontent.org to Oxford Analytica which is a company that reviews sort of the world economic and social political situation on daily basis and then everything in between.


Question: What is your most popular content?


Spanfeller:    So, we use web analytics to measure our web traffic every minute of the day and in fact we’re looking at that in our intraday basis.  We’re looking at it from a daily snap shot with good staff snapshot and mostly staff snapshots as well but fundamentally you know, the editors are constantly reviewing that and making decisions base upon that in terms of what goes where in terms of placements.  The popularity will range and vary depending what’s happening in the world.  So, as you might guess, you know, around the middle of September of last year through now, there’s been a higher degree of interest in finance stories and in market stories.  Although there was interest before but it was just spite as you’ve seen you know, the world sort of implode and explode and then hopefully rebound over the last you know, 6 to 18 months depending on how value and will feel about it.  Other times, we’ll have an idea that will you know, make news so when we do one of our major list, one of the rich lists or one of our celebrity lists, you’ll see huge traffic around that.  And the other times it would be you know, as it relates to news today, if a companies had a major announcement or a major breakthrough or hopefully not but if it goes through some serious issues, there’ll be a permanent traffic around stories about that happening.