10 Questions with Jay Mariotti
6. AOL Sports
Posted On 05.17, 2013
RCS: You're now at AOL. Why does it have the future that the Chicago Sun-Times – and perhaps the newspaper industry more generally – does not?
Mariotti: Oh, 54 million unique visitors to its content sites in November alone -- and no costs for a printing press, newsprint, ink, truck drivers, overtime, delivery, etc.
AOL is committed to the younger demographics that most newspapers ignore while very much serving the middle-agers who have had e-mail accounts for 10 years (such as me). It's all about advertising, and given the economic condition of the country, I'm impressed by AOL's ad growth and general business model on its various platforms. AOL is positioned for a boom era when the economy cooperates. Management gets it. The arrow is pointing up, not down, and it gives me the opportunity to write and travel and love what I do -- instead of worrying about when the paper is going to fold.
If Hunter Thompson envisioned a newspaper during his worst drug trip, it would be the Sun-Times. It's a nuthouse. By comparison, the environments at AOL and ESPN are a joy -- and much more conducive to having fun and doing good work.