Hail and Farewell, All Things Digital

so_long_farewellNext Tuesday, New Year’s Eve, will mark the end of one of the most important journalistic tech industry web sites, Dow-Jones’ All Things Digital. Those of you who have been following this drama in recent months know that its disappearance will only be momentary.  Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, who have run the site and associated conferences as an independent unit (but with no equity stake) are parting company with News Corp. after failing to reach agreement on a new contract.

The site, with its crack team intact, will re-emerge with a new name and new corporate investors, including NBC Universal, at the start of the new year. But the end of its six-year run is worth a moment of reflection. (Walt and Kara seem to agree; ATD is offering a series of posts (here’s the first) with summaries of and links to some highlights.

Many of the ATD crew has been friends, colleagues, and competitors, some for more years than any of us want to admit. But when ATD started in 2007, it brought to the web  the journalistic standards of The Wall Street Journal with the timeliness, aggressiveness, and attitude that befitted a post-print publication. It quickly became the go-to site for, among many other things, Kara’s exhaustive (and occasionally exhausting) coverage the decline and, maybe, rebirth of Yahoo, Peter Kafka on media, Ina Fried on mobile, and Arik Hesseldahl on the enterprise.

It will be very interesting to watch what changes and what remains the same in the new ATD. Equally interesting will be what Dow-Jones plans to do to fill the giant hole left by the departures. It clearly has major plans, and has been hiring a lot of staff.

(So long and thanks for all the fish. The picture of  the dolphins, originally from icanhascheezburger.com, is from the allthingsd.com home page.)



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Steve Wildstrom

Steve Wildstrom is veteran technology reporter, writer, and analyst based in the Washington, D.C. area. He created and wrote BusinessWeek’s Technology & You column for 15 years. Since leaving BusinessWeek in the fall of 2009, he has written his own blog, Wildstrom on Tech and has contributed to corporate blogs, including those of Cisco and AMD and also consults for major technology companies.

12 thoughts on “Hail and Farewell, All Things Digital”

  1. Oh ya! I have been expecting the demise of ATD over a year ago. I certainly like Kara and her well connected coverage in the silicon valley. Walt has been waiting for his retirement a long time and been resting on his laurels so his occasional “how to” and my best friend Jobs articles are lame.

    And yes, P Kafka’s the TV expert pissing all over Netflix in its initial push towards online streaming proved his is as insightful as the usual-suspect tech critics that write for bad press.

    Than there is J Paczkowski the cheer leader for everything apple and hit him while his is down on BBM. Does this guy actually get paid writing “me too” news about apple and BBM? ATD has been dying for a long time and I am not surprise WSJ’s parent decided it brings no synergy.

    1. First, Walt–who has been a friend since long before either of us got into the tech business–is not retiring. Both the web site and the conference business (which is where the profit comes from) will spring back to life right after the first of the year, with Walt and Kara more in charge than ever because now they will be equity owners. Your entitled to your opinions about the ATD contributors, though I disagree, but there is absolutely no evidence that the site was dying. The deal with News Corp. broke down not over valuation but Walt & Kara’s rock-bottom demand for editorial equity and News Corp.’s unwillingness to grant it.

      1. Please explain “editorial equity”. My searches only seem to find editorials about equity in variety of issues; I know that is not what you meant.

        Thank you.

        1. Simple: The editorial staff–certainly Walt and Kara and probably at least some of the other writers–will have equity in the new company. I didn’t intend to be obscure.

    1. I know that, but it was an image I grabbed from the All Things D web site and they got it from ihascheezburgers.com. They can’t even spell in English.

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