Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cox's new national conservative website to be named 'Rare,' will try to distance itself from AJC

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Site still needs an editor in chief... doesnt Neal Boortz now have some free time?
  • Joeff Davis/CL File
  • Site still needs an editor in chief... doesn't Neal Boortz now have some free time?
Last year, we reported that Cox Media Group, the monolithic company that owns newspapers (including theAtlanta Journal Constitution), radio stations, and probably some human-cloning labs we've yet to hear about, was seeking an editor for a "nonpartisan" and "anti-propaganda" website that would cater to a conservative audience. Because there's obviously a lack of such outlets.

When we asked Cox for more information about this new Atlanta-based website, a spokesman told us only that the company would release "more details a little bit later on as we get closer to launch."

But we're an impatient bunch, so we'll just go ahead and release some details for 'em.

According to a CMG document leaked anonymously to CL, the website will be a "conservative Huffington Post" and named "Rare." As in the way you cook your steak. The tagline: "Red is the center." As in, "being conservative is the middle ground." It should launch sometime before March, the undated document marked "internal & confidential" reads. (You can view the placeholder page here.)

The website, the document says, came out of market studies that found that "the most valuable customer segments expresses an unmet need for conservative news and conservative lifestyle content aggregation. Notably, however, the range of desired conservative news, opinion and lifestyle content is more diverse than what is presently offered in-market."

CL discussed the document's contents with CMG Spokesman Andy McDill. He told us the "general direction outlined in the memo is true and provides the impetus for us launching the site."

In the third quarter of last year, CMG funded the development of a "conservative Huffington Post." According to the memo:

the product... will help conservative readers connect to and share content sorted into a range of conservative attitudes and voices. These 'rare voices' are not widely represented in media currently, nor are they aggregated into a single site that is focused on serving today's range of conservatives. An abundance of political news sites exist, but no general news, business, lifestyle, and community site for the full range of conservative views is currently in market.

A working group recommended CMG start discussions with Erick Erickson of Red State, former presidential candidate and pizza king Herman Cain, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich about "powerful original content that complements aggregated content."

McDill could not comment on any discussions, but promised the new website "will have a collection of the most credible conservative voices out there today and deliver content that is direct and provocative - but never insulting."

How will such a website - excuse us, "anti-propaganda" website - affect the reputation of the AJC, which for years has been called too "librul" by conservatives and, more recently, too conservative by progressives? The average reader probably won't know the two are related at all.

According to the document:

To the degree that the public perception of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and some other Cox papers across the nation continues to be inaccurate ("liberal" rather than "balanced"), the Working Group recommends Rare be largely associated with existing Cox conservative properties. A separate plan to develop cross-portfolio relationships is underway and will be presented by February 2013.

McDill confirms this, saying Rare "will be operated totally separately. Some of the voices you hear specifically on our radio stations, they could be the type of voices that come through on this particular site." The company has yet to make a final decision on the site's editor.

Cox has already gobbled up and registered the "rare.us" domain. What's somewhat perplexing: GoDaddy tells us it is also available to be purchased for the low, low price of $11,000. (McDill couldn't confirm whether it's for sale.) In the meantime, rush to be the first and follow 'em on Twitter.

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