Interview With Newsarama’s Michael Doran

by Jeff

My friend Michael Doran from Newsarama graciously answered some questions I had for him regarding the purchase by Imaginova of Newsarama.com.

What changes can be expected at the Newsarama site?

I think it’s more about growing than changing. Since Comiclist is one of the great long-time presences in our industry, Charles, let me say off the bat comic books will not only get the same amount of coverage and focus they do now at Newsarama, but Matt and I plan for the coverage of this industry, its publishers and creators to expand and improve.

Yes, we’ll expand our coverage of broader genre entertainment, but not in lieu of anything someone might like about Newsarama right now. Our new content will be in addition to all that. That’s the inherent quality of the Internet – as opposed to say a print publication with a limited page count – Newsarama can publish as much content as it can generate. The potential is virtually unlimited.

For readers who want to soak in as much genre entertainment content they can, there will be pages designed for them. But if your interest is primarily in one area of our coverage, there will be pages designed for you too. In other words, there will always be a page that works just like the Newsarama homepage does today for comic books fans… just improved, with better navigation, search functions, and usability. For example, a more intuitive, easier to use way to navigate comic book previews is an improvement we hope to make for our readers.

And of course fans who enjoy more video and podcasting will have more content to look forward to in the future.

How does this deal/merger differ from past deals, such as the one with Another Universe?

Well, without going into too much detail, as announced, Imaginova has acquired Newsarama. In the past Matt and I have formed working partnerships with sites with a need for content. These types of arrangements were right for Newsarama at the time, and integral to our growth, but now we’re fully part of the Imaginova Network, which means there is now a much-expanded foundation for making Newsarama the best it can be – from Matt and me and contributors like Vaneta Rogers and Steve Fritz, for example, to Imaginova’s editorial, technical, marketing, product development and video departments, just to name a few.

Does Imaginova know that comics are a medium, not a genre?

Absolutely.

You know one of the most gratifying things for Matt and me after the announcement was made was to see how many of our readers were already familiar with – and fans of – Space.com and LiveScience.com. We think those sites demonstrate Imaginova’s commitment to quality content driven and directed by experts in their particular fields.

Matt and I understand some of the questions this news has raised, but we couldn’t do justice to how much Imaginova is excited to have a foot in this industry and for the current Newsarama to serve as a foundation for their entry into genre entertainment. We couldn’t be more comfortable with everyone we’ve met and have worked at Imaginova over the last few months to determine if this was going to be a good fit.

Imaginova’s Editorial Director, whom we’ll be working with most closely to shape the future of the Newsarama brand, is perhaps as big a comic book fan as either Matt or me. Every time we got together to discuss, business the conversation would invariably wind up on the virtues of Civil War, Countdown, or what indie books we were particularly excited about.

So yes, the plan is certainly to expand, but again, no one, including and especially Imaginova, would be happy if that expansion didn’t include expansion and improvement of our comic book content.

That said, as you know as well as anyone, Charles, Matt and I have been through changes before. Every time Newsarama has evolved there have been questions – and reasonable ones – about if and how Newsarama might “change”. We can try to say the right things now, but we also know and accept it’s not going to be about what we say, but what we do for the next few months and years. Not only answering those questions but exceeding expectations is always what’s made Matt and me excited about each new beginning, and never more so than this one.

Other than having the title of editor, what specifically will you and Matt be doing now that Imaginova owns Newsarama?

Putting a renewed focus on content, content, content. My time particularly over the last couple of years has been mainly focused on advertising and the business side of things readers really didn’t see or notice. For one, this will allow me to jump feet first back into the editorial side of things, which I’m excited about.

So really, as far as readers are concerned, Matt and I will continue to do what we have done since the beginning – generate the content, be it as writers ourselves or working with our team of contributors. And starting now, we’ll be doing that with access to vast resources and support of an already hugely successful media company.

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