Facets of editorial diversity

Rubik's Cube Collection
Each square represented one post and each color represents one theme. Each cube represents one self-identity type. Confused yet?
As a publisher, one of my jobs with each of the sites (and with the network as a whole) is to look at content from a meta-level.

I spend a lot of time looking into the content of the sites like tea leaves, trying to ensure there's a range of diversity.

I don't just mean ethnic diversity here (soooo many smiling white people on the internet — especially wedding blogs), although of course that too. But for each site, there are whole palettes that have to be balanced.

For example, on Offbeat Families, I look at not only ethnic diversity, but also:

  • family phase-based diversity (ie, not to much pregnancy stuff vs. conception stuff vs. stuff about parenting teens)
  • family-type diversity (nuclear families, extended families, adoptive families, blended/step families, etc)
  • identity diversity (heterosexual vs. LGBT is just the most obvious — this also includes balancing not too much attachment parenting stuff, not too much christian stuff, not too much hippie stuff, etc)

So, each site has these very specific topical patterns to look out for, but all sites also have considerations like:

  • regional diversity (both US regions, international content, as well as making sure under-represented regions are prioritized and highlighted)
  • taxonomic diversity (making sure our post categories are evenly used)
  • representation of people with disabilities
  • including a range of ages
  • lots of different kinds of body types
  • etc x 500 bajillion

I wish there was a Chartbeat-like tool that could help me track all these different factors. For my managing editors who are more visual, it can be challenging to look at a the titles of a week's worth of posts and recognize editorial patterns or imbalances. After a few years of doing this, I feel like I'm finally starting to get better — but I just got an email from a reader alerting me to a weird content cluster on one of the sites that I toooootally hadn't even noticed.

Clearly, I've got a long way to go.

  1. Ouch. My head hurts just thinking about this.
    Fortunately I have you to do this for me!

    1 agrees
  2. And a little part of me immediately started thinking about the spreadsheet that could help track this. Not automatic, but still.

    I totally blame you, Ariel, for subverting my interest to web stuff like this. I now find it pretty damn fascinating!

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  3. Yeah.. posts like this are totally my favorite part of the Offbeat sites. I love the behind-the-scenes stuff; they definitely make it worthwhile to keep reading even if I'm not actively planning a wedding or having a baby. Offbeat Empire ftmfw!

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  4. Late to the party, but posts like these are absolutely inspirational.

    Right now, I'm work with interns on a spreadsheet for our corporate paper (my 5 vectors are gender, language, department, team member or management and a bonus vector 'variety' so I can highlight underrepresented points of view).

    It's entirely thrilling to think about these back office aspects of our paper & to work on something that can help me track vague intuitions.
    One of the harder aspects is the lack of support/involvement from the rest of my team – I suppose you know the feeling, from the posts about your no-drama comment policy (which I also love).

    Thank you, team OBE !

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