Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The growing ranks of entrepreneurial journalists

Harry McCracken is leaving PC World to start his own technology Web site.
That's big news for the world of B2B journalism for several reasons.

Harry may be the biggest name in B2B editorial circles. Anyone who follows this industry will remember Harry's clash with management last year. Harry's ethical stance in that dispute won him the most important award in B2B publishing -- American Business Media's Timothy White Award for editorial integrity.
And certainly Harry's departure is a tremendous blow to PC World and parent company IDG.
But what I find most interesting about this development is that Harry is now the best-known business-media journalist to enter the world of entrepreneurial journalism.

More than three years ago I first began predicting a rise in the number of established B2B journalists who would abandon traditional publishing companies and strike out on their own. And history has shown me right time and time again.
But in the past few weeks this trend seems to be accelerating.
First, there was the news that the majority of the staff of Cygnus' Aircraft Maintenance Technology magazine had resigned en masse ... reportedly to start a competing product.
They join another group of Cygnus employees who quit a few months ago and launched RV Industry News, a competitor to Cygnus' RV Trade Digest.
And in the past few weeks I've begun consulting with and/or offering advice and support to four different B2B editors who are building new products as they make plans to quit their day jobs before the end of the year.

But most interesting to me is that I'm in talks now with an entity that is interested in offering tools, a platform, ad-sales services and a revenue share to B2B editors who opt to take the standalone route (when and if I reach a deal with that group, I'll publish the details here.)
In the meantime, congratulations to Harry and everyone else who has taken the plunge.

(To see what Harry says about his departure, check out his blog at PC World.)

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1 comment:

Dogfish said...

I think this trend of ownership that is anathema to good publishing is the primary motivator, for those that love the content and the industries they serve, to find new less restrictive environments.