Tumblr announced that it has cut the editorial staff it put in place last year to curate the content found across its more than 100 million blogs.
The effort, dubbed Storyboard, was intended to "tell the stories of Tumblr creators in a truly thoughtful way — focusing on the people, their work, and their stories," Tumblr co-founder David Karp said in a blog post. But the "ambitious experiment" that was Storyboard is no more.
"What we've accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on," Karp announced.
Tumblr will continue to experiment "with new ways to shine light on our creators," Karp continued, but did not elaborate.
In January 2012, Tumblr had an editorial team of one. The idea, Karp said at the time, was to highlight "stuff going on in our community."
"What we've started to do is bring more people on to the team who are able to kind of report and unlock all the things that are happening," Karp said last year. "Because it drives me crazy that we've had all these book deals and we've done nothing to help those guys sell those books. Like we don't have a page set up as a shrine to all those amazing Tumblr stories. We're not blogging about all the cool things that are happening."
"It's really more about making sure that the creative communities on Tumblr are getting the attention they deserve and those amazing creators who are doing amazing stuff on Tumblr are building the audience and getting the attention they deserve," he continued. "So it's really us doing more reporting on our own community. I think about it more as marketing."
Last year, Facebook announced that it hired a managing editor to do something similar to the Storyboard team at Tumblr - surface interesting stories across its network. By last month, however, that editor - Dan Fletcher - left Facebook to start his own online business, PBS reported. Facebook didn't need reporters, and giving Fletcher the title of managing editor was misleading, he told PBS.
The news comes as more and news outlets embrace the idea of "branded content," while tech firms hire former journalists to shape their content strategy, blurring the lines in some cases. Traditional media companies like Forbes are posting stories that look as though they come from staffers but were actually crafted by sponsors. There's usually a note to designate that the story is an advertisement, but it can be easily missed. The most notable example of late was The Atlantic's controversial story/ad for Scientology.