Bustle Digital Group bought struggling news site Mic in a fire sale about six months ago, and now it’s time for the relaunch.
The site, which axed its entire editorial staff at the end of November and then quickly sold to BDG for a reported $5 million, has a string of new hires and even a plan for a political series around the upcoming 2020 election. Mic was founded in 2012 as an outlet dedicated to news for Millennial readers, covering general topics and political news and issues, something it is apparently planning to pick up again. BDG also recently bought a similar site, The Outline, out of a similar situation, but it has yet to relaunch.
To lead the renewed editorial effort at Mic, BDG has hired Shanté Cosme as Mic’s executive editor. Cosme was most recently working on a freelance basis, but up until August of last year worked at Complex Media, where she held a number of roles over several years, ultimately becoming executive editor for about a year. At Mic she is set to develop the site’s direction, voice and editorial team. Of her new role, Cosme wrote in a statement that coverage of politics and social justice “are part of Mic’s DNA.”
“I’m committed to continuing that important work while expanding Mic’s coverage into other areas, like music, technology and wellness,” she added.
Already, BDG has also added three reporters to restart Mic’s coverage. Opheli Garcia Lawler will cover politics, jumping over from fashion and culture coverage for The Cut vertical at New York Magazine. Hanna Howard will cover “innovation,” also most recently freelance after a three-year stint at Teen Vogue that ended last year. Rajul Punjabi will cover “well-being,” coming directly from Vice where she covered wellness.
After its quick sale to BDG, Mic went on something of a hiatus but started publishing more regularly earlier this year, mostly through freelancer contributions. This string of hires marks the first round of staff additions since Mic fired its staff of editors and reporters as it was said to be coming up on being unable to make payroll. Along with the hires, BDG said Mic is launching a series under the umbrella “Mic Causes” focused on presidential candidates for the 2020 election.
Outside of editorial, BDG said Mic’s branded content team has been “integrated” into the company and will continue to work on projects for advertisers that are “values-led.” BDG operates with a shared services model, meaning teams like sales and technology are shared across brands. The company also operates Bustle, The Zoe Report, Elite Daily and Romper, making Mic its only real news vertical.
As for where Mic fits in at BDG, chief revenue officer Jason Wagenheim wrote in a statement that the company makes brands “into engaging publishers by creating a newsroom that is guided by narratives and beats that are woven into a rolling editorial calendar that mirrors the businesses’ core values and beliefs.”
Bryan Goldberg, founder and chief executive officer of BDG, could not be reached for comment. Goldberg is still on the hunt for media properties to acquire, recently telling WWD that Mic cofounder Chris Altcheck is leading the effort now for all of BDG.
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