“Citing ‘anonymous sources’ for a hit piece is nothing more than smear journalism, much more akin to a tabloid version of Yelp than actual journalism,” Padveen told TheWrap.
Padveen denied many of the points made by the HuffPost. He said the editorial staff was reduced from 18 members to nine — not from 25 employees to six, as the HuffPost reported.
“We have 139 employees at TheBlaze and growing,” Padveen said. “I’d encourage any reporter who seeks the truth to reach out to us to uncover what we are doing, rather than basing a story on a handful of former employees who are no longer employed here for good reasons.”
Padveen admitted that the HuffPost was accurate about traffic being down, but added, “TheBlaze 2.0 is not just a new website, it’s about the reimagining of the entire company. It is about building a cohesive company with a singular mission and unified strategy.”
A Huffington Post representative told TheWrap that the piece stands for itself.
Padveen said that the layoffs were a way to refocus attention to digital-oriented journalists.
“Our current team is now comprised of some of the finest digital journalists in the business, and we expect to grow this team in 2017,” he said.
Citing an anonymous source, The HuffPost wrote in its piece, “the mood among the rapidly diminishing news team is somber” at TheBlaze.
But Padveen doesn’t quite see it that way, calling the mood “optimistic.”
“It’s a very exciting time for TheBlaze,” Padveen said. “When I inherited the role of president of TheBlaze in February of this year, TheBlaze was a sinking company in chaos. People were running for the doors. Morale was at an all-time low. There were no controls, we were deep in debt, and there was no mission and no accountability. Things were out of control.”
He explained that TheBlaze had committed to many obligations it simply could not fulfill. Until recently, the staff spent too much time fixing the messes of the past regime, said Padveen, who replaced Kraig Kitchin in early 2016.
“But now we are finally spending a lot more of our time building for the future. My immediate predecessor did a good job at starting to clean things up, but this was a challenge beyond anything any one person could handle,” Padveen said. “Fast forward seven months. We have transformed into a tech media startup, arguably the coolest company in Dallas.”
The HuffPost also mentioned that TheBlaze has several employees working from home.
“One of the early and easiest decisions we made was to consolidate operations in Dallas. In addition to being a short flight from anywhere, we have a beautiful studio with a great, collaborative environment. We recognize that not everyone can relocate, so we readily accept that some people must work from home. Many people are more productive without a daily commute,” he said.