Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Don Tennant wins ABM's editorial integrity award

Congratulations to Don Tennant, who has just won what is perhaps the coolest prize in B2B journalism -- the Timothy White Award for Editorial Integrity. In brief, Don is being honored for being one of the good guys in an industry that still, on occasion, struggles with the basics of journalism ethics.

Don is vice president and editor in chief of IDG's Computerworld. And IDG is a client of mine. But I'm afraid I can't claim any credit for this award. Don was doing the right things for the right reasons long before I ever stepped foot in an IDG office. Don is a worthy recipient, and I'm as pleased with ABM's choice this year as I was with its choice for last year.

For BtoB magazine coverage of Don's award, click here.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

And the Oscar goes to my little brother

Allow me a brief personal note today:
Congratulations to my baby brother David, who won the Oscar last night for Best Picture.
In reality, the Oscar is an honor to be shared by everyone in the cast of "The Departed." But at least in my eyes, it was David who made the movie.

His part was small. He's in one scene, sitting with "Mr. French," uttering obscenities and racial slurs. But as many of you know, "The Departed" is based loosely on the story of James "Whitey"
and the land of my birth -- South Boston, Ma.
And David was the only Southie native in the movie. So for those of us born and raised on those streets, he gave an air of credibility to the flick.

Some of the handful of readers of this blog who know me personally know about my misspent youth and the series of connections between me, Whitey, the FBI and all things Southie. As for the rest of you, let me make the following vague, but informative comment, and then leave it at that: I have never been convicted of a felony while an adult.

And if you want to see a movie about Southie that more accurately reflects my life, check out "Good Will Hunting." I'm really very much like the stunningly attractive genius played by Matt Damon.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The outlook on Outlook

I was at a meeting last week with a client, listening to some tech people talk about tech stuff, when someone said something that threw me for a loop.
In brief, he was explaining the problem that Microsoft's Outlook 2007 was causing with email newsletters. And I, who likes to think of himself as fairly well versed in everything that's happening in online media, had no idea what he was talking about.

I asked a few questions. And later I did a search to see who had the scoop. And it turns out that a) there is a problem; b) B2B publishers need to be aware of it; and c) I need to do a better job of keeping track of things. Because I found a fair amount of information about this subject in some of the dozens of RSS feeds that I've failed to read in the past few very busy weeks.

The problem, as near as I can tell, is that Microsoft made a very strange, Microsoft-centered decision -- changing the rendering engine in Outlook to Word. The result is that email newsletters that use CSS just don't look the way they should.

The tech folks that I spoke with seem to think this is a temporary problem. The assumption is that Microsoft will change its policy and that things will be fine again soon. But I'm not convinced. So I'm going to keep worrying.
At the same time, I don't think this is anything worth panicking about just yet. Outlook 2007 isn't in wide use -- yet. And there are things that designers can do to resolve the problem. Although to be clear, those changes involve doing things that many publishers will not want to do -- like not using Flash or background colors.
For some advice on how to alter your newsletters to work with Outlook 2007, check out this post from Karen Gedney.

For more on this issue, check out what Kevin Yank has to say.
For an earlier post of mine about the shortcomings of email newsletters, click here.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007


One of the readers of this blog posted a kind message in the comment section of this post, noting that my work on this blog has grown infrequent.
I'm flattered to think that anyone misses me.
And I assure you -- I miss all of you.
Few things in my working life bring me as much pleasure as does this blog.

No excuses ... I have been remiss. I've been on the road too much of late, and I let this work slip. But I promise to begin posting on a regular schedule again soon.
And if you're one of those few people who really, really, really miss me -- you should seek professional help. But you can also get extra doses of me and the things I talk about at three public appearances next month. I'll be visiting the campus of Northwest Missouri State University, speaking to teachers and student journalists at the convention of College Media Advisers, and serving on a panel at American Business Media's Digital Velocity conference.

In the meantime, thank you for reading. Thanks for staying in touch. And thanks for your patience and support.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

eWeek retreats in ads-within-edit scandal

A few anonymous emails and one anonymous commenter tell me that eWeek has come to its senses.
The publication seems to have ended its offensive practice of inserting ads in the editorial.
If you're new to this issue, you can read my initial post on the problem here, or click here to read of my dismay to find that eWeek was a finalist for a Neal Award.

Now it's worth noting that eWeek hasn't officially announced that it's pulling the IntelliTXT ads. I asked Eric Lundquist, VP/editorial director at eWeek, for a comment several weeks ago. But I never received a response. Nonetheless, my anonymous friends tell me the links are gone. And as I take a quick look through the site, I can find no evidence they ever existed.

I'm thrilled by this development. And I want to thank anyone and everyone at eWeek that raised their voices against the ads. I also want to thank all of you who sent emails, posted comments and wrote pieces of your own about the scandal. Together you have made it clear -- again -- that the journalists of B2B will not compromise over ethics. Together you have reminded our industry -- again -- that the rules don't change just because a publication is online rather than in print.

For David Shaw's take on eWeek, click here.
Check out Matt McAlister's thoughts here.

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