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as a publisher, a philosophy that persists today and has become a central strategy of the site’s growth.Instead of being an editorial outlet with a bureaucratic editing and decision-making system, Lavergne hopes to turn the site into an all-publishing “platisher,” a silly portmanteau of the words “platform” and “publisher” and a recent trend for some media outlets, including Gawker and Buzz Feed.Thought Catalog’s publisher, Chris Lavergne, knows the stories are harmful to his site.And yet, his growth goal would bring even more of it.It could run next to, say, a thoughtfully reported story from a full-time staffer.It’s Thought Catalog’s hallmark feature, and the one that leads to the site’s biggest catastrophes.“One bad egg has the tendency to ruin everyone else’s work,” he wrote in an e-mail to his staff days after those two stories were published. A 26-year-old who speaks measuredly and with confidence, Lavergne was named to this year’s “30 under 30” list in Forbes, a publication in which he was profiled in 2012.He is publicly reserved and doesn’t frequently speak to media; he prefaced our conversation by calling Thought Catalog a “press-shy company.” He conceived of the site as a 21-year-old Hampshire College dropout who was struggling to break into writing.
He initially put this conversation off because of the “brutal week” he had endured.
“Ryan [O’Connell] couldn’t get published anywhere, and he came on and became one of the biggest contributors on the site, and now he’s an incredibly powerful writer with a book deal.
What we really saw was: we’re gonna be the place where anyone can go and publish, and we’re not gonna judge you.” (O’Connell declined to comment for this story, saying only that “TC has always been intended to be a platform for different voices and opinions.”) It’s a formula that seems to have worked.
“Transphobia Is Perfectly Natural,” and “Ferguson, Missouri Looks Like A Rap Video”: So declared headlines on two consecutive days this past August from early adulthood-angst purveyor Thought Catalog, a Web site for and by millennials.
Both pieces racked up thousands of social media shares while being dissected and denounced by dozens of blogs and news outlets.