The Maddow Blog is one of the more ambitious attempts to date by an MSNBC star trying to rise above the low expectations of the genre.
“We felt like we had an audience that was very wired,” said Ms. Maddow. “But we weren’t providing a really hospitable environment for them.”
Late last year, an opening came up on Ms. Maddow’s show for a new segment-producer head. After some discussion, Ms. Maddow and her team decided they’d rather spend the money on someone who would focus primarily on the Web. Eventually, they hired Laura Conaway, a former Village Voice editor who more recently had been working for the star-crossed NPR-for-young-people show The Bryant Park Project. (The former host of the BPP, Alison Stewart, is married to Bill Wolff, the executive producer of The Rachel Maddow Show).
For a site based on a TV show, the blog is surprisingly mostly text-based, not a repository of Maddow-only clips. Something that concerned the msnbc.com folks.
“We’ve done fine,” said Ms. Maddow. “We haven’t paid a price in terms of overall video clicks. That hasn’t suffered. And we’re able to do all of this additional content that is, for me, rewarding and rewards the show in terms of ideas.”
“We also do just some dumb stuff on there,” Maddow tells Gillette. “It’s a good place to be goofy.”