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Kotaku’s editor-in-chief Jen Glennon has stepped aside from her role following a disagreement with the management’s new strategy. Glennon announced her resignation on X with a short message that read, “Some personal news! I’ve resigned from Kotaku,” before throwing shades at the management saying “and Spanfeller is an herb”.

Kotaku Editor-In-Chief Jen Glennon Resigns, Calls Jim Spanfeller “An Herb”

Jen Glennon

 

Glennon took up the role of editor-in-chief on October 10 and was reporting to G/O Media’s management—the site’s owner. According to a resignation letter seen by Aftermath, Glennon said her decision was in response to the decision by the management team to favor guides over news.

Since 2021, Kotaku has had three editor-in-chiefs. After Stephen Totilo’s departure in 2021, Riley MacLeod, the co-founder of Aftermath, stepped in as interim EIC before Patricia Hernandez was hired. Hernandez was fired in August 2023 and Glennon took over in October of the same year.

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“After careful consideration, I have concluded that the current management structure and decision-making processes at G/O Media are not aligned with my values and goals for Kotaku,” Glennon wrote in her resignation letter addressed to G/O Media executives Jim Spanfeller and Lea Goldman.

“I firmly believe that the decision to ‘invert’ Kotaku’s editorial strategy to deprioritize news in favor of guides is fundamentally misguided given the current infrastructure of the site. [This decision is] directly contradicted by months of traffic data, and shows an astonishing disregard for the livelihoods of the remaining writers and editors who work here.”

Kotaku Editor-In-Chief Jen Glennon Resigns, Calls Jim Spanfeller “An Herb”

According to sources familiar with the matter, Kotaku has redesigned its homepage and a section previously reserved for breaking news has now been given to “Game Tips & Guides”. The staff of the company are expected to create 50 guides weekly. The company’s staff has criticized the decision pointing out that the company’s major traffic source is news rather than guides.

What is Kotaku’s ultimate goal with the games and tips guides?

If months of data have shown that news posts garnered more traffic than editorials, why is Kotaku’s management insistent on deprioritizing news in favor of game tips and guides? Well, I know the answer.

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As someone who has worked for at least 3 different media outlets, I know that news is a source of short traffic bursts. So, to get more news post traffic, you need to publish more news posts daily. Traffic from a news post often drops to almost zero a few days after the news broke. However, if you want a traffic source that will keep pulling in visitors for years to come, then you have to turn to “tips”, “how-tos”, “guides”, and so on.

Kotaku Editor-In-Chief Jen Glennon Resigns, Calls Jim Spanfeller “An Herb”

Jim Spanfeller

The problem with reliance on news posts for traffic is that you have to keep chasing every breaking story to maintain the same level of traffic. That will often require a huge team and more investment. However, with tips and guides, one post can keep reeling in consistent traffic for years.

So, if Kotaku has a series of game tips and guides that rank well on Google’s search results, they can easily double or triple their daily traffic in the long haul without necessarily increasing their output. But, is that what their readers want? Spanfeller was famous for radically increasing Forbes.com’s focus on digital advertising.

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According to a post on Slate.com which gave a historical background to Glennon’s “Spanfeller is a herb” comment, Spanfeller at Forbes doubled down on editorial coverage because he believed they were more advertiser-friendly which led to clashes between him and the company’s writers and editors.

While this is my observation, it could be something else. Perhaps, Spanfeller is yet again trying to bump advertiser revenue for the platform through the most desperate means possible. Since this is a developing story, I will be on the watch to see what happens next.


Anthony Emecheta

Anthony Emecheta has over a decade experience as a freelance writer. Gaming has always been a childhood hobby and he is excited to be collaborating with a gaming company as a content creator. It is like having all the things he loves in one place.

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