The editor-in-chief of the popular Ivy League gossip blog, IvyGate, is stepping down from his position. The site has seen a marked decline in the frequency of new postings in the last two months.
Peter Finocchiaro, a 2010 Cornell graduate, currently writes for Salon.com and was named editor-in-chief of IvyGate in October 2010.
IvyGate, founded in 2006, is owned and founded by Columbia graduates Christopher Beam and Nick Summers, journalists and former writers for the Columbia Daily Spectator. Beam and Summers will continue overseeing the site.
Stories for IvyGate primarily come from tips from students and daily publications from the Ivy League schools, according to Summers.
“We felt there was enough tabloid-worthy stuff occurring at Ivy League schools that there really needed to be a news and gossip source devoted to them exclusively,” Summers said.
IvyGate, once updated daily, published 14 blog posts in October and has published nine posts so far this month, a decline from 45 posts in September. With the exception of one post on Nov. 29, all stories this month were published between Nov. 11 and 19, an unusually long stretch of time without new content.
Six writers have contributed to IvyGate since the beginning of September. Of these, two have published more than four times.
Finocchiaro wrote 35 of the 45 stories published in September.
“At a certain point my responsibilities ratcheted up,” Finocchiaro said. “In October, I told Nick that I was planning on stepping down. I’m in the process of finding a replacement.”
“If I could keep the site populated with more content, I would,” he added.
Since its inception, the frequency of content published on IvyGate has been inconsistent. “IvyGate goes through these sorts of waves where it becomes super active, and it goes through lulls,” said Zachary A. Ozer, the site’s business and technology director. “It sort of falls on whoever is in charge.”
Finocchiaro said there is always more than enough fodder for his small team of writers.
“I don’t think it’s ever too difficult to get the volume where it needs to be for a website like IvyGate,” he said, referring to its tabloid-like content.
“What we see is that IvyGate will continue to be a place where aspiring writers can go, learn how to write journalism with a satirical edge,” Ozer said. “If it becomes something more, great. If not, it continues to be a space where people can hone their skills.”
Though he founded IvyGate, Summers is critical of its readership.
“Chris and I always describe it as 10 percent love and 90 percent hatred for Ivy League students,” he said. “It’s about the worst caliber of people you can imagine as an audience.”
“You get lots of sorts of mean spirited tips from people who want to put a story on their rivals. ... It’s people at their worst,” Summers added.
Finocchiaro agreed, citing its snarky content as its main appeal to readers. Neither Summers nor Finocchiaro see an end to IvyGate.
“It’s always been a site that’s generated a lot of traffic, and I don’t think that’s going to change,” Finocchiaro said.