Founded by journalist Nicholas White in 2011, the Daily Dot began with the mission to become the hometown newspaper of the internet, launching with a handful of reporters in Austin, Texas. In 2020, White chose to bring the Daily Dot under a new umbrella: Fragment Media Group. Inspired by the Daily Dot’s work shaping personal, cultural, and political lives with critical reporting on web communities, White wanted to pursue a larger, broader, reader-first media organization.
Two years later, Fragment Media Group now reaches over 35 million unique online visitors across its various brands, including the internet culture publication the Daily Dot, literary science magazine Nautilus Magazine, and the Phire influencer network.
The company’s success has attracted back one of its most valuable players, Publisher David Flynn. Starting in 2014, Flynn was the managing director of the Daily Dot’s advertising department. He founded the department himself, and its work was quickly recognized for its excellence, with two Digiday Awards nominations in its first year: “Publisher of the Year” and “Best Native Advertising.”
With a heavy heart, Flynn left the Daily Dot in 2016 after what he said was “one of the most rewarding periods” in his career. His priority was discovering what other media companies were doing, what was working, and what was possible. In 2021, after 5 years of discovery, Flynn said he realized Fragment is the “realization of what media should be,” and jumped at the opportunity to return and help Fragment become the largest, digitally native reader-first media company.
“We move quickly at Fragment. Ideas for new titles and products are spun out at a pace that’s completely alien to traditional media, from a playbook we know works. It’s calculated, harnessed freneticism,” Flynn described. “Countless media companies claim to be reader-first. Few actually are.”
In celebration of Flynn’s return to the company, we asked some of the longest standing members of the Fragment team about what it’s like to work here, what they’ve fought for at the company, and why they’ve chosen to stick around. One of our most-tenured employees, Director of Operations Tiffany Bennett, discussed how her appreciation for her coworkers and the nature of the media biz have kept her around for over eight years.
“We work with amazing people. Everybody has an interesting story to tell, everyone comes with a rich set of experiences and are really good in their craft,” Bennett described. The business itself is always changing, but also our company is constantly evolving. Whether it’s adding on a publication or just approaching the way we engage with our readers a little differently, it always keeps things interesting.”
Ramon Ramirez, Daily Dot managing editor, who has been at the company for 7 years, also discussed his passion for our company’s place in the media landscape.
“What I loved about the Daily Dot was the pace and the principled journalism we were doing,” Ramirez described. “I want to build something big and worthwhile that makes a difference and I really think that the Daily Dot opens that door for anyone who cares about journalism.”
Others at the Daily Dot praised its dedication to the internet culture beat. Editor Kris Seavers, who has been with the company more than 5 years and helps run the Daily Dot’s internship program, described the Daily Dot as a tight-knit community of internet nerds.
“We’re a virtual newsroom, and it’s weird to work with some people I’ve never met before in person, but it feels natural because we all live and breathe digital culture. Everyone here works very hard and cares about the mission of online storytelling. There are no stiff suits here—just memes and vibes,” Seavers said.
Many of our colleagues shared appreciation for some of the changes the company has made after challenging conversations: including the implementation of a profit-sharing plan, changes in hiring practices, and adding an optional four-day work week at the Daily Dot. Managing Editor Ramirez discussed how our four-day work week has panned out since its beginnings in January.
“We have increased our weekly news productivity from about 70 articles a week in the news department to about 85. We did that because even though we were working one day less, we had more concentrated, more meaningful, more intentional work,” Ramirez shared.
In an effort to improve the newsroom, Editor Kris Seavers said she has made a push for greater diversity in employee recruitment.
“I believe in salary transparency and intersectional diversity that doesn’t tokenize marginalized people. We’ve hired three women editors in three months, which feels like a huge win. I hope that in a year, our leadership and full-time staff include more Black and brown folks,” Seavers described.
Department-specific changes stood out to employees as well. Art Director Jason Reed, who has been with the company for over eight years, discussed how he pushed for a change in how the company handles violent material in cover art.
“One specific thing I’ve brought to the company is our treatment of violent material in the main art. Studies have shown that using mugshots of the perpetrators of violent crimes can lead to copycats, so you won’t see their faces used to promote our stories. These are small but meaningful steps every art department should consider,” Reed described.
Reed also said he’s looking forward to seeing what else future employees bring to the table.
“The flexibility and the opportunities for advancement have made the Dot a place worth staying with long-term. I’ve been fortunate to work with many talented people through the years here, and I’m always interested in what new people are bringing to the table,” Reed said.
Thank you all, for helping Fragment Media Group become a better place to work!
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For more information about Fragment, please visit: fragmnt.com