Molly McHugh

Molly McHugh

Articles Editor, The Ringer

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON June 15, 2016

Discussion

Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
Hi, I'm Molly - I'm an editor at The Ringer, leading our technology coverage. I formerly worked at WIRED and The Daily Dot, and when I'm not talking about ~the internet~, I'm talking about Oregon sports. Or just Oregon.
Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee@dleesta · Product Manager
What tips do you give writers on your staff to produce better work?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@dleesta Hi Daniel! Honestly, I know a lot of people say that Slack is a distraction, but it's great for us, especially when my section is mostly remote -- I'm in LA, they're in NY. Also, not to plug another productivity tool, but Trello. Trello for everything.
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
How has switching to the Medium.com platform changed the Ringer in terms of traffic, reader engagement, etc. Do you think it would make sense for other publications to be hosted on medium as well?
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
Hello Molly, thank you for taking our questions. 1. Where do you look for trending stories (e.g. sources, events, websites, etc.) and 2. What kind of tools do you use to research/find interesting content?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@candriopoulos Hi Costas! I don't know if my answers will be terribly interesting here, but: Google alerts, my Digg RSS, Digg front page, Google News front page, Hacker News, and a lot of really weird Twitter searches.
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
@iammollymchugh Dear Molly, thank you a lot for your response!
Theoharis Dimarhos
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hi Molly! Thanks for taking the time. Can you talk about the leadership style of Bill Simmons?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@theo_dimarhos Bill is super creative and he's interested in everything -- he also really believes in us and the site, but it's great to just talk to him about what you're working or something he noticed and thought could be a story. A lot of ideas come from all of us just being around each other and talking, and he's fostered that environment.
Niv Dror
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
Hey Molly! Can you talk a little bit about The Ringer's publishing strategy (or goals) when publishing on Medium?
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What were the biggest lessons you learned during your time at Wired? What, if any, changes would you make if you were in charge of running Wired today? Some people (incl. Kevin Kelly during another PH AMA) argue that Wired is not what it used to be...
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
Who are some writers and editors that you admire/learned from?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@tomstocklein My list is insanely long, but a few editors I've learned from over the years: Austin Powell, Nick Mokey, Joe Brown, Mike Calore, Chuck Squatriglia, and Caitlin Roper. Learned a lot about how to be a good manager, a better writer, understand tech media, and a more constructive editor from these people.
Jonathan Barry
Jonathan Barry@barryjonathan
What are some suggestions to recent graduates looking to get into the media world (social media, broadcast, etc.) ?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@barryjonathan Get on Twitter, for sure, and it sounds terrible, but just start writing. There or on a ~blog~. Don't try and write what seems popular or trendy, focus in on what you're already an expert on -- if it's local taco trucks or some minor league baseball team you're obsessed with. Become an expert in a niche you already love. Odds are there is someone who would really like an expert on a ~thing~ and you already are one. And pitch. I'm not a freelancing expert by any means, but I have friends who are making a living freelancing so it can be done.
Jordan Gonen
Jordan Gonen@jrdngonen · trying my best.
When did you start writing publicly ? What do you like about it ?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@jrdngonen My first writing job was at Digital Trends, I think I started there in 2011 or 2012. I graduated at a not-great time for journalism students, 2009, and figured I would end up in Comms or HR or something -- which I'm sure would have turned out OK, but I'm extremely happy things went this way. All I've ever done is write, so I'm thrilled I get to do what I know and love : )
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hey, Molly! What's different working at The Ringer (a publication distributed on Medium) vs. WIRED or The Daily Dot? P.S. I grew up in Eugene and graduated from the U of O (go Ducks!).
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@rrhoover Go Ducks! WTD! I'm hating how I'm about to become a 49ers fan this year (Chip, Buckner!). Well most obviously, The Ringer is new -- I've never been at a site for launch, and it's really exciting and scary and great to start something totally from scratch. You get to set a tone, and it's been really incredible to do that. WIRED was an amazing place to work and I learned so much from media vets there, but obviously it's very established. The Dot was somewhere in between these two -- it had been around for a few years, but certain processes and methods had been established, though there was flexibility in other ways (figuring out a tone, etc). Starting at zero is a whole new experience for me, and it's been an exciting one. Also, each site had a different CMS, haha, so I feel very well-versed now.
Jacqueline von Tesmar
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What are the first tabs you open on your computer/phone every morning?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@jacqvon Gmail, Gcal, Trello, Tweetdeck, Techmeme, Hacker News, Digg, Digg/tech, Digg RSS, Google News, Twitter (for searching)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
What tips or advice can you offer to people just looking to get started as a journalist?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@ems_hodge I think it's been said a lot so sorry if this is boring but: Get Twitter, and write what you know. Don't try and be a generalist and just pick topics that are trendy right now or speak to everyone; become an expert on something you're already passionate about and make that your niche. As a great example, take notice of esports writers who are become very employable.
Hey Molly! Still looking for names for the Tech Podcast? I have a bunch of ideas for you, wheres the best place to send them?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@jhanngs always! tweet 'em at me : )
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
Hello Molly! how do you choose which startups you would like to write about?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@neeeharika Hi! It's a pretty simple litmus test, but 'would I use this and would I talk to my friends about it.' Is it going to start a conversation or if I would ever say "hey are you using X" or "you need to download X" (or even "DO NOT DOWNLOAD X") then it's probably worth talking about in some context.
Miguel Carvajal
Miguel Carvajal@sintomatico · PhD, journalist, founder of @mipumh
Hi, Molly. How would you describe The Ringer business model? What are the main revenue sources you are trying to get to sustain the activity (branded content, sponsor content on podcasts?
Theoharis Dimarhos
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
What make you choose the Ringer over another opportunity?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@theo_dimarhos The biggest thing was the opportunity to start something from scratch, but with a really strong foundation.
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
The Ringer has grown so quickly in readership. Can you share any examples of how the team grew the audience so quickly?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@ems_hodge Absolutely having Grantland's fan base ready, waiting, and excited about a new site has helped. But I think people don't realize how many new names are on the masthead, as well -- some of those people bringing their own individual readers with them. Medium also comes with its own built in community, and The Ringer's social execution has been great -- I need to follow our Twitter feed better, I miss some of the hilarious things we're posting there. I think those are all the things that got people excited about us, but now they're staying because we have a high bar for what we're actually publishing, from thorough fact-checking to amazing art.
Joel Hiller
Joel Hiller@joel_hiller · Web Analyst
Hi Molly! Analytics seem to be the next big thing when it comes to optimizing sports teams and proving ROI. What's the best way for someone like me to get into the field? Also, are you utilitizing analytics software for your own site?
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@ettinger · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What's biggest cultural difference between The Ringer and other places you've worked?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@andrewett That we're located on a studio lot : ) Kind of kidding, but it is very different! Launching something is a totally new experience for me, so the lead-up to actual launch day felt like an alien job to me -- "what do you mean we're not publishing!?" Podcast production has also been new; treating those episodes like researched stories is something I'm still learning how to do. I've also never worked anywhere that published sports content. Loving that. I'm just trying to convert some Trail Blazer fans.
Martina Grgic
Martina Grgic@martigrgic · Co-founder @ SmartLumies
Hi Molly, how do you choose the topics for your articles? :)
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@martigrgic Most of the time I'm assigning and editing -- I usually write about something when I either can't stop thinking about it or have complained about it to people more than a couple of times. I think the focus of most of the things I write about tends to be either what technology is doing to us -- in a good or a bad way.
Taylor Johnson
Taylor Johnson@taylor_johnson · CEO/Co-Founder of VentureStorm
I apologized if this has been asked prior, as I just joined the chat. My startup, VentureStorm, is looking to launch a new product and generate press, what is the best way to go about doing so? Any tips to get into sites like wired, techcrunch, etc.
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@taylor_johnson This is always tough, I know! For the most part, a pure product pitch -- write about this launch -- can fall a little flat in the inbox, but you also don't want to go too far trying to tie it to something topical (i.e., I saw a lot of not-great pitches trying to use the Orlando shootings as a reference point -- no, never). Honestly, the best pitches are usually a little more casual. I appreciate when PR reaches out to me and says 'hey here's this new thing, here's why we think it's cool, let's chat and see if there's possibly a story here.' I'm never going to get excited about a blanket, embargoed release where everyone is going to write the same 800 words to be publishing at the same time on the same day -- know your publication. Maybe there's a place that's more human-focused, and there's a q/a possibility with someone at the company. Maybe a very spec-heavy blog will want the details on something interesting or unique about the code.
Mark Dodd
Mark Dodd@markbrooksdodd · Founder @ Curias | Marketer @ LexisNexis
How does The Ringer plan is differentiate itself in a crowded landscape?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@markbrooksdodd In part, by not pigeon-holing ourselves too much. It's not JUST a sports site, or JUST a tech site, or JUST a culture site. There's so much overlap and leeway between those things, that we don't find ourselves having to say 'that's not a story for us' too often.
James Shamenski
James Shamenski@gladrobot · Running a small dev shop. Love emoji.
You've already dropped a pair of emoji stories on The Ringer. During your research, did the custom emoji companies all pitch you on creating custom emojis for The Ringer? I'd bet readers/listeners/watchers would love something amusing from you guys.
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@gladrobot Haha no one offered to make any Ringer emoji! I should have asked.
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Molly thanks for joining us! What story has most surprised you during you time covering the technology industry?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@ems_hodge Oh man I don't even know if I can remember them all... but when I was at Digital Trends, I wrote a story about some shaking down going on in the ad blocking biz, which now is probably irrelevant, but talking to some of the companies involved in it... I just remember how irate and shocked they all were. I ran into Alexis Ohanian in the process of reporting it and point blank asked him if he knew anything about the allegations against Adblock Plus, which Reddit worked with, and he did not. He said, and I quote, if the allegations were true it would make him "a sad panda."
Jacqueline von Tesmar
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@jacqvon Iceland!
Patrick Tobin
Patrick Tobin@pattobinn · WorkDifferent.com
For an inexperienced writer/editor that has a website that would love to create great content, what steps would you suggest to take?
Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh@iammollymchugh · Articles Editor, The Ringer
@pattobinn Well, what kind of content!? Great content means a lot of things, and you really need to choose a focus and then zero in on that. What seems unexplored? What are you an expert in? Who are some of your favorite writers? You have to decide these things first, but then, the basic -- a readable site, a publishing rotation, and of course, talent -- come next. I guess if you're trying to decide 'what should this site be about,' the things people aren't writing but are maybe tweeting about is a source of inspiration.
Patrick Tobin
Patrick Tobin@pattobinn · WorkDifferent.com
Thanks @iammollymchugh and yes, I'm recruiting talent currently. We're writing about work culture. More of a Twitter presence is a great start!