I'll Tumbl For You

Tumblr Kills Storyboard; Editorial Employees Will Be ‘Moving On’

Even though Tumblr “couldn’t be happier with our team’s effort."
Tumblr's Mr. Karp (Photo: wikipedia.org)

Tumblr’s Mr. Karp (Photo: wikipedia.org)

We’ve seen some late-afternoon news dumps, but this takes the cake: Tumblr CEO David Karp just announced that the company is shutting down Storyboard, the editorial experiment meant to highlight the work of the social network’s much-touted “creators.”

Even though Tumblr “couldn’t be happier with our team’s effort,” Mr. Karp wrote that, “What we’ve accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now.” The editorial team “will be closing up shop and moving on.”

“I want to personally thank them for their great work. And please join us in wishing them well,” he added.

A Tumblr spokesperson tells us it’s just three employees that’ll be riding off into the sunset.

Based on this Tumblr post, it looks like honcho Chris Mohney is among the departed (though we’re still in the process of confirming that update: confirmed). Editorial producer Sky Dylan-Robbins has also posted a farewell. Meanwhile, it seems executive editor Jessica Bennett is handling the news about as well as can be expected. She just posted to her own Tumblr (natch):

RIP TUMBLR EDITORIAL. WE PRODUCED SOME AWESOME MOTHERFUCKING SHIT / REDEFINED JOURNALISM / WON SOME AWARDS / OBSESSED OVER ONE DIRECTION / ALL THAT. IT WAS A GREAT RIDE> NOW: ANYONE WANT TO HIRE ME?

ALSO: Drunk on a plane. The only way to go out (or down?! It’s really bumpy.) Sorry for the all caps! XO

Tumblr has introduced a number of new initiatives in its quest for profitability, which Mr. Karp has said he believes the startup will hit this year. About a year ago, Mr. Karp reversed his previously disdainful position on ads when the company began selling access to the Tumblr Radar for advertisers.  And in March of this year, the company edged even further away from its prior “art project” mentality, introducing ads to its mobile product.

Meanwhile, keeping the Tumblr team in GIFs and beer has its costs. Though it’s raised $125 million in venture capital since 2007, the company still has to pay rent on its swanky Flatiron HQ–not to mention keeping all those servers up and running.

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Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com