Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ASBPE comes to New York

Take a look around your newsroom. If the place looks empty today, that's a good thing. Because it may mean your editorial staff is heading to New York City for the National Editorial Conference of the American Society of Business Publication Editors.

The conference runs on both Thursday and Friday of this week. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make both days. But I'll be at the conference on Thursday. If you see me walking around (I'll be the stunningly attractive man with short, gray hair), say hello. I'm not sure yet if I'll be able to stick around for the Azbee Awards Reception and Dinner (Full disclosure: I was a judge in this year's competition.) But save a seat for me just in case.

If you can't make ASBPE, you'll still have one more chance to try to convince your boss to pay for a trip to New York this year. The Folio Show runs from Sept. 23 to 26. I'll be there too. And I'll be joining Kevin Ireton of Fine Homebuilding magazine to lead a session on "Who Should You Hire: Journalists, Market Pros or E-Wizards?"

tags: , , , , , ,

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lessons from the new metrics

My recent post on the new metrics from Nielsen prompted a few emails from readers. Folks asked what, if any, changes in content might be prompted by the new measurements. And one reader in particular asked if I thought "trades should continue to invest time and resources to delivering email newsletters?"

I'm not a fan of email newsletters. As I've mentioned before, I think RSS is a superior product for users. So I think it's inevitable that as consumers become more familiar with news readers and related products, newsletters will come to be seen as too annoying to deal with.
It's also worth noting that e-mail newsletters are, as strange as it may seem, already quite old-fashioned. Young people don't like e-mail. And as just as print has begun to seem quaint even to folks in their 30s and 40s, e-mail looks like semaphore signals to the Facebook generation.

Yet as much as I have grown to dislike email newsletters, I think it's way too early for publishers to walk away from them. There's still money to be made there. In some cases there is a lot of money to made there. Advertisers like them. They are a fairly easy and inexpensive way to launch a new product. And most importantly, they are tied to a metric -- a list of email subscribers -- that won't be hurt by Nielsen's change.
So I advise publishers to:
a) begin offering RSS now, and
b) make improvements to your existing email newsletters, which are often the least professional product in any B2B line-up.
For more on this subject, take a look at this post from early last year.

There is, however, one more thing worth thinking about here.
Nielsen's new measurements -- which emphasize time, rather than page views -- decrease the value of products that don't have original content. In other words, a page (or e-mail newsletter) of outside links is worth less than a page of compelling and time-consuming content. In this model, a five-minute video clip is worth more than five clickable headlines to someone else's content. Content aggregation, which has been the easiest way for publishers to make money online, may not be so easy anymore.

tags: , , , , , ,

Monday, July 16, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Video interview with yours truly

I'm one of those vain people. There's nothing I like the more than sound of my own voice.

So when I checked out the video interview of me from the College Media Advisers convention, I put my headphones on and cranked up the volume. You may want to do the same. Because as Bryan at CMA says in his post, the "audio is kind of low, and Paul has a soft speaking voice."

If you want to hear more about what I think journalism students should be thinking about, I'll be speaking at the National College Media Convention in Washington, D.C., in October. I'll also be speaking at the Southeast Journalism Conference in February. I'll post more information about that meeting when it's available.
And I promise to speak loudly at both shows!

tags: , , , , , , , journalism education

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Would you rather lose your job or your integrity?

As the argument over editorial integrity, the Wall Street Journal and Rupert Murdoch captures the attention of much of the journalism world, it pleases me to no end to see that one of the most sensible voices in the debate comes from the world of B2B.

Take a look at this essay by Jim Prevor, published in the Journal earlier this week. Jim argues that great journalism is born of courage, not work rules. And that journalists' independence "comes always and simply from their willingness to be fired. "

Jim runs Florida-based Phoenix Media Network, which covers the perishable foods industry. For more from Jim, take a look at his blog, PerishablePundit.

If you want to learn how to be a courageous editor, make sure you attend the Folio Show in September. The first session is called "What Makes a Courageous Magazine Editor?" (Note: I'm also speaking at this year's Folio show. I'll be joining Kevin Ireton of Fine Homebuilding magazine to discuss "Who Should You Hire: Journalists, Market Pros or E-Wizards?")

tags: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A new way to measure up

Way back in the day, when the Web was young, and I was less old, we lived for page views.
Everything seemed to revolve around them -- budgets, compensation, the number of pats on the back per employee from upper management, etc.
So we built products that revolved around that metric ... even when building products aimed at page views often meant that we built products that didn't serve readers.
For example, it was fairly common a few years ago to "force" readers to click through a story. Every article was divided into multiple pages. So someone who wanted to read a 500-word story might have to load five pages to get to the end.

In time, we got smarter. In time, we learned again to put readers first. And, in time, we got enough good data about how people actually used the Web that we could build products that met users' needs and reflected their surfing habits.

Now, years after smart Web journalists have abandoned the page view model, the advertising world has caught up. Nielsen has announced it is replacing the page view metric with a new measurement of how long someone stays on a site.

Nielsen and the advertising community are concerned that video -- which has changed how people consume online content -- isn't appropriately measured by page views. And they are right. Watching a video for 5 minutes does merit something more significant than a single page view. We simply can't equate that action -- and its time commitment -- with spending two seconds on a page of links and then clicking out.
But there is a problem here , too.
Because clicking to exit has become the goal of much of online marketing. The page view metric was replaced a long time ago by the cost-per-click metrics of Google.
(For more on this subject, check out Scott Karp's post.)

There's another problem too. If, as I've been arguing for awhile now, content is becoming containerless, then the time spent on any single site has grown less valuable, not more valuable. If I read your content through an RSS feed or use your data in a widget application without visiting your site, how will my time with your content be measured?

But despite how Google, RSS, widgets and the rest are changing the game, B2B journalists and publishers should be thrilled with Nielsen's decision. Here's why:
Nielsen is making an attempt to measure the things that we in B2B claim we do best -- engagement and community. Sure, this new metric isn't perfect. Time on a site isn't an exact measurement of how engaged a reader is by content, nor is it an exact measurement of how connected a reader feels to his industry and the B2B publications that cover it.
But it's close.
And it's a start.
And it's sure better than page views.

As is often the case with media news, I first heard about Nielsen's decision by reading Danny Sanchez' Journalistopia blog. Check out his post, where he talks about how the new metric will change the way journalists work.

tags: , , , , , ,

Friday, July 06, 2007

Congratulations to the TABPI winners

The global B2B association known as Trade, Association and Business Publications International has announced the winners of its 2007 TABPI awards (Full Disclosure: I was a judge in this year's competition.)

Among the notable winners are the U.K.'s Legal Business, which picked up best single issue for the third year in a row.
InfoWorld and Computerworld, both published by IDG, a client of mine, won the Gold and Silver awards for best Web site.
And 14 magazines picked up four or more awards -- The ACC Docket, Best's Review, TechTarget's CIO Decisions and Information Security, Computerworld, Fresh Cup, Inbound Logistics, InfoWorld, Modern Healthcare, NZ Retail, Physicians Practice, REALTOR Magazine and RT Image.

Congratulations to all the winners!

For a complete list of winners in 11 editorial categories, click here.

tags: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Congratulations to Jan White

I'm in the process of moving. My little family has gotten too big for our little apartment. So we got a bigger place in Manhattan.
We won't make the final move until autumn. But bit by bit, piece by piece, things are going into boxes.
As luck would have it, I moved one of those boxes to my office in the city last week. It was filled with books that are related to my work. And when I unpacked, I placed one of those books at the top of the pile -- a sort of reminder to reread it when I get the chance.

That book is "Editing by Design," the masterpiece by Jan White about visual journalism.

Yesterday I read that ASBPE had announced that Jan White is the latest recipient of its lifetime achievement award.
And I cannot think of a more deserving winner.

Take a look at what ASBPE says about the 79-year-old visionary.
Then buy his book.

tags: , , , , , ,