You might have heard last week that Wired News, the small online news shop in San Francisco that is distinct from the print magazine, laid off some employees as a cost-cutting move. The news sounded grim for one of the iconic brands of the tech world. But we had a chance yesterday to chat with Alfred Tolle, the new CEO of Wired’s parent company Lycos, and he sounded upbeat about the future of Wired News.
Tolle, who joined Lycos this year from Bertelsmann to try to reposition the company’s brand and image, said he wants to broaden Wired’s consumer appeal by adding coverage about games, gadgets and media. (Lycos owns the online Wired News; Conde Nast owns the magazine. The two share content.)
“My vision is to even expand the editorial staff and expand the offices,” he said, following a meeting with Wired News editor-in-chief Evan Hansen and the staff. Tolle said he envisions adding a New York office to cover the media industry.
“The vision for Wired is bigger,” Tolle said, alluding to an international expansion for the news service. “More and people are playing with gadgets, and I think there is a huge audience for that. I’m very confident about the success of Wired.”
Tolle said the games coverage would appear by the end of this year, with gadgets news starting early next year, “and media as we are successful in these areas.”
Tolle also talked about his overall vision for Lycos, a once-popular Internet brand that lost its way over the years. He views his challenge as akin to what Terry Semel faced when took over Yahoo. But we’ll save that for another post.
Can Tolle keep Wired News relevant and profitable? New CEOs are typically enthusiastic about their visions. That’s their job. Reality doesn’t always cooperate. Time will tell. Stay tuned.