The media biz is such a vale of tears these days that it’s a delight whenever a scrap of news that isn’t completely depressing comes along. And here’s news that’s all good: The Consumerist, the excellent consumer-issues blog that flirted with death when owner Gawker Media put it up for sale last month, is being bought by Consumers Union, the Consumer Reports folks. Here’s a New York Times story with all the details, including sound bites from my friend and former boss Kevin McKean, Consumer Reports’ editorial director.
Last month, I was a guest at a conference put on by Consumers Union and the Columbia Journalism Review. I was on a panel moderated by Kevin that the Consumerist’s Ben Poken was also on, and the news about the site being up for sale had just come up. Mediablogger Jeff Jarvis was in the audience, and during the Q&A he sprung up to suggest that CU buy the Consumerist. The CU folks present there looked intrigued by the idea but very, very cautious.
For all I know, they were already talking with Gawker, or would have done so whether or not Jeff threw out the notion. In any event, it’s hard to imagine a better home for the Consumerist than Consumers Union–it’s great news for everyone involved (including, especially, Consumerist readers), and nifty to see so venerable an institution as Consumers Union fulfill its mission in such a new and powerful way.