AOL Recruiting Magazine Vets

By Steve Smith

Even as AOL sheds jobs and cuts costs elsewhere, its MediaGlow content division is staffing up with familiar names from the magazine and newspaper worlds. StyleList, the AOL fashion site, gets Diane Davis as its new director. Davis had been AP’s lifestyle editor after serving as metro editor for Newsday. The founding editor at, Sarah Cristobal, becomes the site’s senior fashion editor. claims 5.1 million monthly unique.

At the newly launched sports site, a number of veteran writers join the fold, including Chicago Sun-Times columnist Greg Couch, Santa Rosa Press Democrat writer Jeff Fletcher and writer Sunny Wu.

MediaGlow is the newly named and organized publishing arm at AOL. It includes 70 sites that embody AOL’s niche content strategy of launching stand-alone brands in a range of categories that build their own audience but also benefit from the portal’s shared base of over 70 million monthly uniques. MediaGlow executives are making a show today of its hiring practices, claiming that the company is building a sustainable content base and talent pool even as the print world suffers under the pressure of dwindling ad revenues. MediaGlow claimed that in February its page views climbed 21% year-over-year.

This aggressive push into reviving AOL as a content-centric company includes a major expansion in 2009 with plans to launch 30 new sites. The niche content network approach took hold for AOL several years ago when its TMZ gossip brand took off. By leveraging the portal’s engine but distancing the content’s identity from the AOL brand itself, the company seemed to be in a better position to penetrate the search-driven, more fragmented eco-system emerging on the Web. Content seems to be one area of growth for a company that otherwise is making substantial cutbacks. Earlier this year, AOL announced a 10% reduction in its workforce, amounting to 700 workers.