Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Good association, bad association

Given the recent debate on this blog and elsewhere about ethics policies and B2B journalism, I asked Paul Heney, president of Trade, Association and Business Publications International, if we could expect an ethics guideline from TABPI. Paul's response gladdened my heart.
"TABPI does not have an ethics policy of its own, but that is one project slated for the summer/fall time period ... I plan on working with some of our overseas partners to see what the range of ethics policies are in the U.K., Australia, South Africa, etc. ," Paul wrote in an email. "I would imagine that TABPI will play more of a role of endorsing one or more ethics policies (not just in the U.S., of course) and providing some links to different samples from various countries."
Furthermore, Paul said he had "agreed to be sort of a silent partner" and work with ASBPE as it rewrites its ethics policy.
Longtime readers of this blog know that I have a soft spot for TABPI because the group calls me a "b2b champion, full of interesting information. Not afraid to tell it like it is." And I'm so tickled by that description I'd put it on my business cards if I wasn't afraid it would make me blush.
And although I shouldn't have to say this, I will -- I didn't pay for that mention and link on the TABPI site.
I mention that because of the actions of another trade association that claims to represent journalists.
I received an email yesterday from
Patti Wysocki at the Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Association. I'd asked NEPA if that group had any plans for an ethics guideline. I found Patti's response less than encouraging.
"Our board of directors has voted not to have a code of ethics at this time. It has been considered several times during my 20+ year tenure here and every time we have concluded that we don't want to enforce a code of ethics and remove members who don't follow the code," she wrote.
Now I'd argue that enforcement is a separate issue. Ethics guidelines are guidelines, not laws. And not having an enforcement policy is not an excuse for not having an ethics policy.
I hope that NEPA will reconsider its decision. And it appears that is possible. "I would not rule it out for future discussion," Patti wrote.
But let me be frank. I don't anticipate that NEPA will do the right thing. Here's why:
Perhaps the most common ethical lapse in B2B journalism is disguising advertising content as editorial content. And not only does NEPA not tell its members not to do such things; NEPA does it itself.
Look at NEPA's homepage. On the left hand side you'll see a link for recommended suppliers. Click through, and you'll arrive at this list.
I have no doubt that many of the companies on that list are wonderful outfits worthy of recommendation. But that's not how they got on the list. NEPA doesn't review the suppliers. NEPA doesn't choose one competitor over another. Companies get on the list by paying to be on the list. If you pay a membership fee, you're placed on the recommended list.
I asked Patti about this, and suggested that NEPA was blurring the lines.
She disagreed.
"We are a membership organization. Those suppliers listed on our Website are members. They don't pay specifically to be listed on the site," she said.
Now perhaps I'm too rigid. Perhaps I'm naïve. But I find that reasoning grotesque.
It doesn't matter what NEPA chooses to call it -- a membership fee, a promotional fee or an advertising fee. It's all the same. The list is clearly a collection of paid links. And paid links must be marked as such.
Here's what ABM's guidelines say about such things: "Hypertext links that appear within the editorial content of a site, including those within graphics, must be solely at the discretion of the editors. Links within editorial should never be paid for by advertisers."
Over on the left-hand side of my blog, you'll see some links marked Trade Press Resources. I've had a link there for NEPA since the day I launched this site. But by the time you read this post, that will be gone.
That may not be much of a gesture. But it's the least I can do. I can't possibly recommend that any journalist use NEPA as a resource for anything.
On the other hand, if NEPA would like to see the link returned, the group can send me a check. Don't think of it as an advertising fee. Let's call it membership dues.
For more on ethics, look at this earlier post and the comments section.
For Folio magazine's look at ASBPE's decision to revamp its guidelines, click here.

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Monday, August 29, 2005

More on sources interviewing us

Last week I wrote about how citizen journalism has given new powers to reporters' sources -- allowing them to go public with their complaints about a story. The old saying about not picking a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel is no longer valid in a world where everyone buys by the barrel.
Today Steve Outing at Poynter points to another example of a source striking back at what he deemed unfair treatment in the media.
I agree with Steve -- this is a welcome development. By being more accountable to our sources, we become more accountable to our audience. In a post-objective world, transparency is the key to credibility.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Standalone journalism and the small niche

Now here's something interesting -- a blog dedicated to covering a single company. (Thanks to Steve Rubel for pointing it out.)
I've been warning B2B publishers for awhile that their biggest competitive threat comes from their own staff and sources. The tools of citizen journalism allow anyone to be a publisher at next-to-no cost. And it's inevitable that talented people will emerge with compelling products to steal readers and advertisers from traditional B2B offerings.
I'll even go so far as to make this prediction -- we will soon see a slew of standalone, online, B2B publications being run by recently retired journalists. Those folks who have been working in your newsroom for 10, 20 or 30 years will no longer have to surrender a lifetime of industry knowledge when they walk out your door. Veteran reporters have always had value; now they can monetize that value themselves.
If you're a publisher, ask yourself honestly, what's to stop someone from your editorial staff from starting a product like the one above? Or one like this?

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Edweek revamps Web site, will limit access, the Web site for Education Week and Teacher Magazine, is moving to a paid-subscription model. For details, and an explanation of the reasoning behind the move, check out this post at the American Press Institute's Media Center blog.
Among the more interesting items is that Edweek expects the change to lead to a drop in readers, and thus to a decline in advertising revenue. To compensate, the company says it plans "to increase the number of advertisements on most of our pages." If you have a hard time following the logic of that, you're not alone. One person posted a comment suggesting that "it's not so easy to increase ad dollars."
More interesting, at least to me, is that the publisher plans to add blogs and RSS feeds to the site.

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The changing roles of journalists

My fellow B2B media blogger David Shaw came across an interesting piece about the role of journalism in the enthusiast press.
In brief, the reporters at a gaming magazine read Jay Rosen's provocative essay about journalism education "Things I Used to Teach That I No Longer Believe," in which the New York University professor looked at how citizen journalism, technology and post-objectivity ethics were changing journalism.
The reporters at GameDailyBiz then asked themselves what those same changes meant for their niche in the media world.
Take a look at their conclusions. And ask yourself those same questions about B2B media.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Look! It's a Web site!

I've been so disappointed so many times of late when I see a press release that a B2B publication has redesigned its Web site. More often than not, the new site is sheer idiocy. There are no links, no graphics, no feedback function and no multimedia capability. It's just black words on white space. In other words, there's nothing about the product that indicates that anyone who worked on it has a clue about how the Web works. There are no break-out boxes, word chunking or subheads to indicate that anyone who worked on it has any idea of how people read on the Web.
Then I heard that CMP had redesigned some sites.
I took a look. And my heart soared.
Now don't get me wrong. These sites aren't perfect. But at least they speak the language of the Web.
For example, take a look at CRN's new site. Click on one of the main stories, and you'll see that there's a feedback function at the bottom that allows readers to post comments. There's some video content on the home page, and there are links to five in-house blogs. Take a look at one of those and you'll see external links (I'd like to see external links in the news copy too, but I'll take what I can get.)
Check out sister sites Channelweb and VARbusiness and you'll see similar functions (and a cleaner design.)
None of the things CMP has done are revolutionary. Yet combined they make for a compelling online product.

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Measuring and using RSS feeds

By now, regular readers of this blog know that I really like CMO magazine. And frequent readers know that I urge publishers to consider the possibility that RSS feeds are the first step toward a new world where content is separate from its container.
So now that CMO has published an explainer on RSS, I have to point to it.
Much of the article is about using RSS as a way to deliver advertising. I'm not convinced this will work. Nor is CMO, which notes that "RSS lacks standard performance metrics." But I have no objection to trying it, as long as publishers behave ethically.
But for consumer of news, RSS is "a no-risk proposition," according to CMO. If you aren't using RSS to organize your information sources, odds are you're not working as efficiently as you could.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

When sources write about us

Blogging and the other forms of citizen journalism are about the audience communicating with the media. The one-way lecture style of old-school journalism is yielding to a new, two-way conversation. I applaud this development. I am thrilled by it.
But I also recognize that as the audience finds it voice, the audience will find it has little need for a middleman.
And in B2B media -- where the audience by definition has specialized expertise -- I expect this newly empowered audience to become media competitors.
Yesterday I pointed to just such a threat.
Now BusinessWeek points to a similar phenomenon -- a source, armed with a tool of citizen journalism (a blog) and the core ethical value of the blogosphere (transparency), bypassing the journalist.
I applaud this development as well. Because I believe it will help force journalists to be more fair, more transparent and more professional.
For awhile now I've been suggesting that journalists consider posting their unedited notes, interview transcripts, etc. on the Web. I think that makes for a more complete, and thus more ethical, story.
Besides, as BusinessWeek points out, if you don't, someone else will.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Blogging tradeshows; competing with sources

Tradeshows -- self-contained, short-lived and full of sources, products and events -- are the ideal places for B2B publishers to try blogging. Shows only run for a few days, and the culture of a tradeshow is all about new products. So why not experiment?
The people-filled floor of the tradeshow is an endless supply of material for interviews, videos, audio, etc. And the real-time style of the blogosphere is an obvious improvement upon the old tradeshow daily newspapers. Primedia Business has had some luck with this, as was noted by Folio magazine. And it seems that tradeshows have become the center of blogging world in B2B...perhaps because of the large numbers of people who blog about the tradeshow industry itself -- including TSMI, Expophile, Tradeshow Blues and MeetingsNet.
So a post on TSMI last week that sang the praises of a particular blog about a tradeshow caught my eye. Take a look, and take a look at the blog in question.
The blog isn't flawless (for example, I hate seeing the over-the-top marketing phrase "Xtreme" used to describe anything that does not involve the possible loss of life.). But it deserves credit for being experimental and creative. There are photos. There are audio files. There are comment sections. There are a few well-turned phrases in the copy.
But what should grab the attention of B2B journalists is that the blog was produced by volunteers at the tradeshow, not by journalists. In other words, it's one more example of the traditional sources of B2B media becoming producers of B2B media. I've been predicting a surge in such source-produced content. And the arrival of such new forms of competition from the people and companies we rely upon for information should worry us.
As an aside, I also think tradeshows are the ideal setting for experiments in what I call immersion journalism. But so far, no one has taken me up on that idea. On the other hand, marketers continue to develop similar applications to sell products.

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More on the direction of directories

Another publisher seems to agree that directories -- those revenue-rich, phonebook-sized B2B guides -- have a future in print.
Lebhar Friedman, owner of Chain Store Age, is publishing two new directories for retailer buyers. "2006 Buyers of Women's and Children's Apparel" and "2006 Buyers of Men's and Boy's Apparel" are available online, on CD-ROM and in the old-fashioned, paperweight versions that I love.
I've said before that I'm more confident about the future of print directories than I am about the future of many other print products.
But there's only one way to know if I'm right. Here's hoping that Lebhar Friedman or some other B2B publisher will share the sales figures for the various versions of their directories.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Unethical advertising, unprofessional behavior

I suppose things will get worse before they get better.
AdAge has an interesting piece on the growing push by marketers to blur the lines between editorial and advertising. And if we're to believe this article, then part of the move toward unethical behavior is driven not by advertisers, but by publishers.
Take a look at this disturbing section of the article: "Magazine publishers, intent on offering unique programs to attract advertisers, have begun presenting their share of ideas, said Julie Roehm, director of marketing communications for Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler. 'We’ve talked about it several times and had all the big publishers in,' she said."
Ad Age says that the push for product placement in editorial has become so pervasive that the American Society of Magazine Editors is "finding it necessary to confront the issue more fully with more clearly worded guidelines to spell out its position."
Bravo for ASME.
The American Society of Business Publication Editors is also planning to update its ethics guidelines, as discussed here.
ABM updated its code of ethics in March, and the new document is quite clear in its call to divide advertising from editorial.
However, while ABM's guidelines are clear and professional, this post on ABM's blog is something else entirely.
I'm not sure exactly what ABM's spokesman was trying to say. The writing is less than clear. But I think it's fair to read the post as an attack on ASBPE. That's unfortunate. And I was pleased to see that Ira Pilchen, ASBPE's treasurer, responded in a comment on the ABM site.
Look -- there are hundreds of journalists in B2B media who have fought for decades to be treated as professionals, to work with dignity and pride. Holding the line between ad and editorial has been a tough battle for trade journalists -- far more so than in the mainstream press. That battle is getting tougher.
We have never needed the support of our trade associations -- ABM, ASBPE and TABPI -- as much as we do now.
This is a time for the associations to stand together with each other and with us. This is a time for all of us to applaud each and every attempt by an association, a journalist, a publisher or a salesman to do the right thing.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Sources from hell

If you've been in editorial for very long you've had at least one encounter with a crazy source. You know the type -- foul-mouthed, paranoid and none-too-bright. These folks tend to be consumed with the need to try and control their press coverage.
My all-time favorite lunatic was a guy who insisted that I had no legal right to write anything about his company (a publicly traded transportation company) unless he approved it. Of course I ignored him. And about every week or so he'd leave a nasty message on my answering machine threatening to sue me for violating something he called "business reputation privacy rights."
I had another source -- a transportation analyst -- who grew erratic and paranoid. He eventually took to issuing reports via FAX that accused reporters of working with FBI agents to hand control of U.S. markets to terrorists.
But it seems like I had it easy.
According to the New York Post, Patrick Byrne, the CEO of, has "routinely fired off profane and belligerent e-mails to analysts and reporters with whom he disagrees." Byrne has taken to complaining that many reporters have joined with a group of 1980s-era financiers "and a shadowy mastermind he called "the Sith Lord" to destroy his company.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Veni, Vidi, Vici, Video

I had the good fortune to attend Boston Latin School, the oldest school in America. The school's curriculum revolves around the study of the classics and, of course, the Latin language.
Like most folks who attended Boston Latin, I have a soft spot for tales of Rome. And I'm actually snooty enough to believe that Quid quid latine dictum sit, altum videtur (Anything said in Latin sounds profound.)
And thus, sometime today, I'll download the "skin" for the Firefox browser that is part of HBO's marketing effort for its upcoming series "Rome." (More on this here.)
Just last week I mentioned a print ad for this same HBO series, and suggested that such creative ads offered protection against unethical behavior by publishers and sales staff. In other words, I think by encouraging creative accomplishments in advertising, we can take a stronger stance against the craven and weak among us. Good, effective ads are the defense against those who push journalists to write puff pieces for advertisers, disguise advertorial as editorial, etc. Good ads can help a B2B publisher resist the urge to destroy credibility in the pursuit of revenue. Or, as the Romans would say, bibere venenum in auro (drink poison from a cup of gold.)
Once I download the Firefox skin, I'm going to reread this piece on measuring the effectiveness of ads. Then I'll reread this piece on some playful ads. Then I'm going to reread this piece on the future of ads.
(NOTE: If you don't have Firefox, or don't know what I'm talking about, you're way behind. Read this. And heed the words of Cicero: Tarditas et procrastinatio odiosa est ( Delay and procrastination is hateful.)

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ad Age understands the a degree

Ad Age has added RSS feeds (thanks to Rex for pointing this out.)
That's nice. I wish more B2B publications would do so.
But I'd be a heck of a lot more excited if Ad Age gave some indication it understood the Web better before it added another Web-based delivery system. You see, Ad Age is one of those sites that fail to understand the most basic premise of Internet media -- the Web is a web.
In other words, Ad Age doesn't provide external links.
I'm not the only person to notice this. Not linking outside your own site is increasingly looking silly, amateurish and cowardly. Publishers need to weigh whatever advantage they see in pretending that Web doesn't exist against the disadvantage of looking like a goof.
Besides, does anyone actually believe that their readers don't know how to use Google? Does anyone actually believe they are the sole source of news in their industry?
Note: Adweek doesn't do much external linking either. But they operate Adfreak , a site that is as filled with links as it is with insider info, quirky news bits and fun writing. Adfreak also has an RSS feed.

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Variety's old blood, new blood and bad blood

Variety has named Timothy Gray, a 22-year veteran of the entertainment-business publication, as editor.
But that won't be enough to get Gray an invitation to Variety's Centennial celebration, according to the New York Times. Variety's founding family is hosting a giant bash at Sardi's next month to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the magazine. But no one hired after 1987 is invited. Not Gray, not editor-in-chief Peter Bart, not anyone.
The host of the party is Syd Silverman, the 73-year old grandson of Variety's founder. Silverman sold the magazine in 1987, and he's inviting only those folks who worked at the publication when it was run by his family. That's unfortunate...but probably not unexpected. B2B media is full of formerly family-run publications. And my experience has been that the culture clash between big media and family-run companies can lead to bitterness that lasts for years.
But what's interesting to me about the Variety party is how gracious the company's present owners are about all this. Reed Business has given its blessing to the bash, even allowing Silverman to use the trademarked Variety logo. I dare say that such a sophisticated approach to public relations and such an adult way of handling a difficult situation is a rarity in publishing.
Longtime readers of this blog know that I am not a fan of Variety. But I have to congratulate Reed and Variety for acting with such aplomb.

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Work online, make more money

The guy who can report a news story and write it up for publication is worth less to me than the guy who can report the story, write it and add a video clip.
So I'm not surprised by the latest survey that shows online, multimedia journalists are paid more than single-medium journalists. Similar surveys in the past have yielded similar results.
I don't expect this trend to continue, but that's because I think multimedia skills have become a requirement of journalism. Being unable to edit a sound file, create a hyperlink, resize an image, or create a slideshow is no more acceptable than being unable to type. Soon there will be no breakout of salaries by medium, because there won't be any more print-only reporters or TV-only cameramen or Web-only journalists.
I'm actually old enough to remember when pagination systems first came to the publishing world. I knew paste-up guys in the back room who were convinced that their skill set -- deep and narrow -- had value. They're all gone now. The smarter folks sensed that the world had changed. They learned the early versions of Quark and PageMaker. Look around your newsroom. Odds are some of those people are working on your copy desk even today.
The lesson is simple: either acquire multimedia skills or find another career.

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Good ads, bad behavior

Later today I'm going to run out and buy a copy of "Entertainment Weekly." I've never read the thing before, and may never do so again, but there's an ad running in this week's issue that I have to see.
Here's how the Wall Street Journal describes it: "The ad appears in three parts: The front and back covers will fold out, and the middle of the magazine will feature a two-page center spread devoted to the series (HBO's "Rome." ) By folding the pages in various ways, readers can mix and match scenes in the three sections to form six different configurations."
I mention this because good advertising -- which, by the way, I seldom see in print or online -- pleases me. I'm one of those folks who like TV commercials. I accept them as a distinct medium that attracts talented people. I see dozens of TV ads that I enjoy. And I celebrate the creativity that goes into the good ones.
And good advertising is becoming more important for journalists -- because good advertising is a defense against unethical behavior. If the ads in our magazines and Web sites are compelling and engaging, then the advertisers will get their money's worth. And if our advertisers are satisfied, they won't pressure the editorial side to engage in unprofessional and immoral behavior.
Folio magazine has a piece this week on ASBPE's decision to rewrite its ethics guidelines (DISCLOSURE: the Folio article refers to this blog.) I called on ASBPE to revamp its rules recently, and celebrated when the group announced its plans.
This is a crucial time in B2B media, and I applaud ASBPE (and ABM) for holding the line on journalism ethics. I'd urge everyone in editorial to follow ASBPE's progress as it enters this next stage of the good fight.
I'd also urge everyone in editorial to get a copy of Entertainment Weekly. Look at that ad. Pass it around to your advertising sales staff. Start a conversation. This is a tough time in the media business. So we should take the time to encourage and support those folks on the business side who are willing to look for solutions in creativity, not in ethical shortcuts.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Economics bloggers, standalone journalists

I argue that blogging and the citizen-journalism movement got their start at About used "passionate" amateurs -- hundreds of them -- rather than professional journalists to cover a seemingly endless number of topics. When I worked there I oversaw the Money and Industry channels -- sites that covered personal finance, careers, small business, B2B, automotive, etc. And one of our more popular sites, much to the surprise of many, was about economics.
Today the Wall Street Journal has a piece about the growing popularity of economics bloggers. Given About's history, I'm not surprised by that news. Nor am I surprised that one of these blogging economists focuses on the oil industry. The petroleum space is likely to attract a number of standalone journalists. Traders such as Phil Flynn and analyst groups such as IFR Energy Services already compete with news providers by offering newsletters as brand extensions.
B2B publishers need to be aware that they are vulnerable to new, standalone journalists -- whether they be industry professionals turned bloggers; economists and academics with insight into the industry you cover; or former employees armed with online-publishing software.
The early successes in B2B standalone journalism are likely to be those folks who can carve a niche in a space that covers both B2B and B2C. In other words, look for people to launch products that serve two levels of news and information. One level is for professionals -- the classic B2B media model. The other level is for consumers who have an interest in how an industry influences their lives. Economics fits that model. So does petroleum. For everyone who makes his living trading gasoline futures, there are thousands who want to understand how gas prices work. The train industry is another example of this sort of hybrid B2B/B2C space.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Primedia Business sold to Wasserstein

It's over.
And yet little has changed.
Primedia Business has been sold to yet another New York-based buyout firm. The seller, of course, was KKR. When I was an executive at Primedia Business, it was the folks at KKR who were in charge. And I found them to be -- almost entirely -- a repulsive group. KKR's chosen would gather in the executive dining room and complain whenever Primedia Business' workforce seemed unwilling to sacrifice more wages and time to further enrich KKR's investors. My time at Primedia Business was an endless series of meetings with people who genuinely disliked each other. And it was clear to me that KKR set that contemptuous tone.
Primedia Business' new owner is Wasserstein & Co., a private equity firm that also owns "The Deal." I know nothing about Wasserstein. And I would urge everyone at Primedia Business to try and maintain a positive attitude during these next few weeks. Perhaps Wasserstein will turn out to be a more skilled leader than KKR.
But I'll confess that I have little faith. Readers of this blog know that I dislike the management style of Wall Street. And I am saddened each time a B2B publisher is purchased by a private equity fund or leveraged buyout firm.
I prefer a different style of owner -- dedicated more to the product, the workers and the customers than to money.
It was years ago that I first came across the work of management guru W. Edwards Deming. Deming believed the purpose of a business isn't to make money. Rather, the purpose of a business is to stay in business so it can provide jobs. In Deming's model, profit is an intermediate goal, not a final purpose. In other words, Deming believed a company owed more to its stakeholders than to its shareholders. Deming's work has fallen from favor in recent years -- pushed to the side by stock booms, junk bonds, IPOs, LBOs and EBITDA.
I'd like to think that Wasserstein sees more in Primedia Business than cash flow. But a look at Wasserstein's Web site does little to encourage me. There's not a word about employees; there's no mention of products; there's no discussion about running a business. But there's plenty of talk about managing investments.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm the former vice president for online content at Primedia Business. Also, during this past weekend I took on a small, short-term consulting arrangement with Primedia Business.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

More on ethics guidelines

The American Society of Business Publication Editors says it will "completely rewrite" its ethics guidelines. I'm thrilled. And you should be too. ASBPE's move comes at a difficult time in B2B media. Publishers and advertising sales staff are feeling competitive pressure from new online publications, RSS and search. The smartest folks on the business side will find a way to succeed in this new environment. The dumbest will demand concessions from editorial.
Any B2B journalist who doesn't see how ugly things are likely to get in the next few months just isn't paying attention. Look at this piece in Mediaweek that talks about how Lexus is pressuring publishers to accept product placement. In particular, Lexus is calling for "modified “advertorial”-type stories that would not carry an advertorial label and would be written by staff writers in order to enhance the credibility of the piece." That would be about as clear a violation of the ethics policies of ASBPE and ABM as I can imagine.
For more on ethics, take a look at this earlier post and the comment section.
And to see what some creative advertising types are doing to compete, take a look here.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Discovering the converged newsroom

I first saw the future of newsrooms at the Chicago Tribune. It must have been nearly 15 years ago. A friend of mine was working there, and she gave me a tour. And what struck me the most (besides actually seeing Mike Royko) was the giant remote-controlled camera in the center of the newsroom. The Trib had created a system where print reporters would stand in front of the camera and talk about their stories. That video would air on Tribune-owned WGN.
I was amazed and excited. My friend, however, was resentful. She saw the camera not as an opportunity, but as another in an endless series of demands on her time.
In later years I'd see that multimedia environment repeated time and time again. At CNN, our reporters worked on the Web, appeared on camera, did sound bites for radio. Certainly there was specialization, but the most successful and ambitious journalists transcended their niches and worked in more than one medium. And time and time again I have come across different versions of my friend from the Tribune -- resisting change and sabotaging their careers.
Just last month I met the editor of a trade magazine who told me he didn't even know the name of the person who ran his publication's Web site. (Certainly you can blame that guy's publisher for failing to combine his products into a unified brand run by a unified team. And ultimately it was the publisher who made the short-sighted decision to use shovelware -- thus allowing the print reporters to maintain their distance from the Web site. But I believe with all my heart that journalists have the responsibility to keep editorial control over all editorial products. Letting a tech department decide how to run a magazine's site is madness.)
Readers of this blog know that I tell journalism students that I want nothing to do with single-medium journalists. A journalist who fails to embrace the storytelling potential of hyperlinks, graphics, video, interactivity, feedback, etc. tells me that he is unambitious. A journalist such as that tells me not to hire him.
Now comes word that the Washington Post has hired the king of convergence and that the New York Times has embraced the converged newsroom. (FULL DISCLOSURE: The Times recently acquired, where I was once a producer and executive.) When the Times and the Post, which for better or for worse are among the most influential publications in media, make such moves, there can be no doubt that none of us will ever again be tied solely to the world of hard copy.
To read more about multimedia reporting, read this post and follow the links.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

IDG's woes in Germany

Fellow B2B media blogger Hugo Martin says IDG is having some problems with audited circulation in Germany. It appears that qualified circulation for IDG's Computer Woche is about half what the company had earlier estimated.
I'm a fan of IDG, and a big fan of the company's push into the global marketplace. And whatever is behind these recent problems, I'm convinced that IDG will continue to prosper.
Perhaps Colin Crawford, a media blogger who happens to be vice president for business development at IDG and has a degree in accounting, will post something about the company's challenges in Germany.

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Business opportunity in B2B?

Can this be true? Is there really such a business opportunity right under our B2B publishing noses?
TSMI's Trade Show blog says that industry doesn't have a "resource that would allow tracking of competitors and industry bellwethers by the events where they were exhibitors and/or sponsors along with total spend on these events." In other words, the B2B media, which makes much of its money by publishing industry data and running trade shows, hasn't found a way to merge those two opportunities.
I'm not an expert in trade shows. Nor do I do much in data publishing. So perhaps I'm missing something. But this would seem to have some potential.
ADDENDUM: Check out what Paul Woodward, who writes about B2B media in Asia, has to say about this issue.

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Are they paying you enough?

Folio magazine has published the results of its editorial management salary survey.
Take a look. It's hard to push your boss for a pay raise when you don't know what your competitors make. (It can also be hard to keep from punching someone when you find out how much they pay your try to exercise some restraint.)
Among the findings: the mean salary for editorial directors in consumer magazines is $97,000, and the highest salary for that job title was $250,000. Editorial directors in the B2B world didn't fare as well. The mean was $85,900 (about the same as a tow boat captain in Florida, according to this game at People magazine), while the top reported salary was $160,000.
On the other hand, editors and executive editors do better in trade publishing than in the consumer press -- $67,500 vs. 65,600. (Association publishing tops this category at $73,400.)
So how can you boost your salary?
Try getting a haircut or a nose job.

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