As a junior at Syracuse University, David Hauslaib liked celebrity gossip and began blogging about it. Now 24, he has started three of the most well-known blogs in the category.
He spoke to PRWeek about the blogosphere and the future of journalism.
PRWeek: What made you decide to start Jossip and, then later, Queerty and MollyGood?
David Hauslaib: I began Jossip when I was still a student at Syracuse. I planned to use it as a vehicle in media circles and hopefully wind up with a job in magazines. Unfortunately, I said too many bad things about potential employers and nobody wanted to hire me. Then I thought if I spent as much time [on it] as I was printing out résumés, I could make a go of it full-time. It has really panned out.
After Jossip turned into a success, it was time to launch some new things. So we launched Queerty, which is a gay lifestyle site. Then this summer we launched MollyGood, which is a standard online tabloid with lots of celebrity photos and gossip.
PRWeek: What attributes do you look for in a co-editor for one of your blogs?
Hauslaib: They really have to get the media business. A lot of folks I talk to think that they do, but it goes beyond who owns what and who has worked for whom. You really have to know who has slept with whom and who is an ally of whom.
It's really taking that social networking game and really digging behind the scenes at magazines and the TV networks.
PRWeek: Do you think you will eventually pursue a more mainstream journalism career?
Hauslaib: I hope not. Everyone who I've talked to who is in print tells me, "Print is dead. Why would you want to go into this business?" While I don't necessarily agree with that - I don't think print is dead - I think most of the more exciting opportunities are in online and new media. That's where I want to be.
PRWeek: You said you don't think print is dead, but beyond online ventures, what do you think the future of journalism really is? Will it be blog-centric?
Hauslaib: There will always be a place for news weeklies, newspapers, a monthly magazine, a quarterly. They all have their purpose. Breaking news is going to happen more and more online. And if media companies are smart, they will invest the resources there.
The latest news out of The Wall Street Journal is that they are trying to do that. It sounds like more of a cost-cutting initiative, but they are one of the first papers to recognize that breaking news has to happen online or the competition is going to beat you.
PRWeek: What is your relationship with celebrity publicists?
Hauslaib: I am generally on good terms with them. Some of them I call my friends, some I call my “Hi-Hi” friends who I see at parties, and others are frenemies and that sort of thing. I can’t say that I am in a hateful relationship with any of them. But we all have our jobs to do. I understand that their job is to spin whatever information is necessary to put some positive light on their clients. My job is to get through that and create a level of transparency for my readers. At the end of the day, they have a job to do and I do as well, somewhere in between we find a middle ground.
PRWeek: What do you find the biggest difference is between the publicists you deal with for Jossip or MollyGood as opposed to Queerty?
Hauslaib: With Queerty it’s not so much gossip, so we have no problem plugging a new artist or a TV show or doing a celebrity interview that might be a little friendlier because the purpose of that site is a little different. With Jossip, we are not out to promote or hate on any particular company or individual, but we are after a good story. Scandal and sex work the best. Our job is to get that exclusive news, and the same goes for MollyGood, but not for Queerty because it’s a lifestyle site and the focus is a bit different.
PRWeek: What celebrity would you say has the best publicist?
Hauslaib: The ones who stay off of Jossip. You have the old caste of celebrity which I would include the Jennifer Anistons, Gwyneth Paltrows, Julia Roberts, and then you have young Hollywood who has a goal more to be in the pages of USWeekly and stuff like that. Not to say that celebrities who end up on Jossip or in the tabloids don’t have good publicists, but their lifestyles certainly cater to more salacious stories whereas Julia Roberts is on a ranch somewhere with her husband having babies. My readers aren’t interested in that. They are interested in Lindsay Lohan falling into the bushes and scratching up her wrists and tales of late night coke binges. The best publicists are maybe the ones that can keep them out of our pages.
PRWeek: What advice would you give to someone who wants to try their hand in the blog arena?
Hauslaib: Don’t. I will say that blogging is where there can be a quicker payoff between starting out and really investing your time and hard work to an end result of success. I think that it is more measurable. I do feel many folks get into blogging thinking it is easy and I can do it for free and set it up and lots of people are going to read it. But like any career choice that you have that approach it is a huge misconception. You have to bust your butt like any other media firm or outlet. I do think there is a lot growth even in my category, the celebrity media category, there is still room for quality new blogs out there. So I think it’s worth taking a stab. But it’s foolish to think that if you give yourself 30 or 60 days you are going to be at the top of the game.
Title: Editorial director, blogger
Outlets: Jossip, Queerty, MollyGood
Preferred contact method: email@example.com
Web sites: jossip.com, queerty.com, mollygood.com