How The Post Tried to Kill Froomkin’s Traffic
Fred Hiatt responds to Jeffrey Goldberg regarding the firing of Dan Froomkin:
The disappointingly dull truth is that the decision not to renew Dan’s contract–which was not made by me, but which I supported–was based on viewership data, budget constraints and judgments about how well the column was or was not adapting to a new era."
[S]how us the exact "viewership data" for Froomkin compared with, say, Kristol or Kagan or Gerson. Then compare Froomkin’s amazing daily output and diligence compared with their leisurely pace. When you realize he was just on contract, his firing is more outrageous. But anyway, Fred: give us those stats.
While it would be interesting to view Froomkin’s traffic statistics, you’d have to know what you were looking at and analyze them relative to the front page exposure given to Kristol, Kagan or Gerson.
Take a look at the Post’s Politics page. Do you see Dan Froomkin’s column listed anywhere? Nope. Nor is it listed on the front page. If you want to find his White House Watch, you better know where to look for it.
The Post has been trying to kill off Froomkin’s audience for a while. Anyone who writes for a web site knows that if you get no main page exposure — or in this case, even a link on the Politics page — your traffic is going to take a huge hit, regardless of the quality of your writing. It’s like taking a baseball bat to someone’s knees and then firing them because they can’t walk.
I’m willing to bet Dan did remarkably well in spite of that, as he continued to generate big outside links from Sullivan, Glenn Greenwald, Marcy Wheeler and others he actively engaged in regular discourse based on the merits of his work.
Hiatt doesn’t need to produce Froomkin’s traffic figures — he needs to explain why the Post has been actively trying to eradicate Froomkin’s readership such that disingenuous arguments about "viewership data" could ultimately be made to justify sacking him.