Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Things that make no sense

I like to think that I'm a nice man. But the truth is that I'm sometimes a little insensitive.
That's why I laughed when I heard what is actually sad news: Electronic Publishing magazine is closing its print edition.
I'm not one of those folks who say that print is dead. But it is clear to me that much of the print world is in trouble. And I guess I just find it funny that someone was still publishing a paper product about electronic publishing. And when I heard the news, I couldn't stop thinking about that company that sells DVDs that you can watch on your television to learn how to operate a computer.

I'm sure that killing the print edition of EP is a good idea. And I wish the folks who work there well. But I'm afraid I'm not confident that things will go well online either. Electronic Publishing is owned by PennWell. And longtime readers of this blog know that I've singled out PennWell in the past for failing to live up to the potential of the Web. And a look at the Electronic Publishing site is an exercise in how not to practice online journalism. First, take a look at this piece from the front page. It is, clearly, a press release. And if you copy the text and search for it in Google, you'll see that other sites run it as a press release and give it proper attribution. EP, however, doesn't provide attribution and drops it unedited into the news hole.
Take a look around the site yourself and see if you agree with me. Follow the link to the page that PennWell has the audacity to call "Web Exclusives." It is an endless sea of press releases, despite the strange, redundant and incorrect heading of "EP Online News Online Articles."
Furthermore, the EP site lacks all of the things that make for compelling online content -- links, graphics, interactivity, photos, etc.

If my sources are correct, then EP is not the only print publication to die today. I've been hearing rumors that Vance Publishing, where I was once a senior writer, is shuttering two magazines -- Meat and Seafood Merchandising and Produce Concepts. I hope the news isn't true. I've known some hard-working folks who have tried to make those products work. But I suspect that these two publications are gone.

On a more positive note, there is some good business news today in B2B journalism. Penton is buying WeldingWeb, an online community with more than 7,000 registered members. The site should mesh well with Penton's Welding Design & Fabrication magazine, which needs a more engaging Web product.

tags: , , , , , conversational media,


  1. Sadly, I have confirmation from Produce Concepts' former editor that the end of the line has come for that magazine.

  2. Hi, Paul

    Yes, I think we'll see a lot of this, especially in the trade press realm. Especially for B2B, online makes more sense in so many ways -- especially in terms of searchability and findability.

    I look at the disappearing print parts of print/online pubs and think of it not in terms of "print is dying," but rather sloughing off skin.

    ...Or perhaps, getting your appendix removed :-)

    Vestigially yours,

    - Amy Gahran


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