Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Location, location, location

I spent much of the long weekend in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, perhaps the prettiest place on earth. It's home to much of what I treasure: the music of Tanglewood, the yoga retreat known as Kripalu, and the mountains themselves. And, as I was reminded early on Sunday morning as I passed through downtown Pittsfield, the Berkshires are also home to Laurin Publishing. Laurin, owner of B2B titles such as Photonics Spectra, has offices on the second floor of a building overlooking the town square.
Laurin recognizes that perhaps the greatest draw it has for B2B journalists is its location. When the company runs ads seeking reporters, it always plays up the beauty of its Berkshires home.
Location is the advantage that many trade-journalism companies have in the recruiting battle. And I'm always surprised how few of them seem to understand that.
Here in New York, where I live, B2B publishers must often choose from the bottom of the barrel of available journalists. The mainstream press offers more money and more prestige. As a result, the great unspoken truth is that B2B journalism in New York and other media centers is often the domain of second-rate practitioners.
The luckiest B2B publishers are based in places where the locale can lure top-tier recruits.
Think of Laurin in the Berkshires, Wicks in Fairfield, Conn., and NTP in Latham, N.Y.
And I've always said the best location for a B2B publisher is the suburbs of Kansas City, where Vance, Primedia Business and Ascend all operate. The area has cheap housing, good schools and offers a low-stress lifestyle. Most importantly, the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas -- both among the top five journalism schools in the country -- are just two hours away. Hundreds of talented kids are available for recruiting every year. And many of them are locals who don't want to leave the area. As a result, local B2B publishers can pick and choose among talented and well-trained journalism students. My friends in New York hate to hear it, but the truth is that much of the best B2B journalism is being practiced in Kansas City, not Manhattan.

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