For Tumblr’s Storyboard, it’s the end

If there’s one thing branded content seems to have emulated perfectly from the journalistic world, it’s uncertainty. The latest example: Tumblr has laid off the editorial team that was responsible for telling stories about users of and content on the service, which is more than 100 million blogs strong. The news, announced Tuesday by CEO David Karp on the New York company’s official blog, comes less than a month after the exit of Facebook’s managing editor, which Brandon Bailey wrote about for SiliconBeat.

Karp brought on the editorial team last year to “do reporting on our own community,” according to PCMag. Now, although Karp blogged that “we couldn’t be happier with our team’s effort” (which included a nomination for a James Beard award), “what we’ve accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now.” He says Tumblr — which reportedly has struggled to bring in revenue — will continue to “experiment” with other ways to tell its users’ stories.

When Facebook’s managing editor, Dan Fletcher, left the social network, he said Facebook didn’t need to produce its own stories because it relies on user-generated content. Tumblr does the same. But the move away from promoting brands via self-produced branded content is interesting, and also comes in light of a rise in other types of editorial marketing. The New York Times wrote over the weekend that more and more, advertisers are paying for stories that are hard to distinguish from traditional articles.


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