Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rolling Stone website passed from father to son

Here's a wacky coincidence - the person put in charge of running the Rolling Stone website, Gus Wenner, has the same surname as the man in charge, Jay Wenner. What are the odds, eh?

Now, it might be that Gus Wenner is the best-placed-person in the world to run the RS website, but given he's the bosses' son, it's hard not to smell a bit of a rat.

Gawker drips sarcasm all over the place:

Gus Wenner, 22, is an amazing media success story. Just a few years ago, he was a Brown University student playing in a band with fellow celebukid Brown student Scout Willis. Today, he's still playing in a band with Scout Willis— and also running the website of a major national magazine!
Jann confirmed the appointment to us. Gus followed the traditional route to a perch atop the media hierarchy: playing in an alt-country band in college. He's earned it.
Hey, haters, just because you didn't have the foresight to be made from the sperm in Jann Wener's testicles, how can you bitch against this hard-won appointment?

The email from Papa Smurf explained why Gus's skillset is perfect for running the key offering of a major international brand:
David Kang and I are very pleased —and I am very proud —to announce that Gus Wenner, after leading the re-launch re-design effort for our website, will now continue by heading up the overall operations of RollingStone.com.
There was a relaunch? There was a redesign?

Let's see how that worked, shall we?

Here's Rolling Stone a year ago:

And here's Rolling Stone today:

But maybe I'm being unfair - after all, front pages are front pages, right? Let's take a look at the pre-junior content pages:

And a year later, after the redesign?

Anyone prepared to undertake such a fundamental relaunch and redesign (albeit one that seems to consist mostly of dropping StumbleUpon from the social networking bar) is clearly ready for the big job.

After all, just ask Rupert Murdoch: what can go wrong with putting your untested son in charge?