Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ASBPE offers new Ethics Advisory service

I just got some great news in my email in-box.
The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) has launched an Ethics Advisory program to offer answers to journalists seeking guidance on ethical practices.
Under the program, journalists can send their "is this ethical" questions to the group and get an answer in fewer than 10 days. (Details are available through a link on the ASBPE homepage.)

The news comes at what is likely the perfect time.
As the economy deteriorates and traditional publishers continue to suffer, I've noted a surge in editors reaching out to me for help with ethical issues.
It seems that I was right when I predicted that 2008 would be a tough year that would lead to an increase in unethical behavior.

For more on my predictions for 2008, search for my name in this Folio article.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Change of seasons

If you've read this blog with some regularity during the past few years, you've probably learned more about me than any reasonable person would wish. For example, regular readers know that I am probably the only salsa-dancing, U.S. Army veteran in history to have worked as a roadie for Alvin and the Chipmunks and to have received an Eskimo kiss from Natassia Kinski.
Regular readers also know, that for reasons I cannot fully explain, I tend to live my life on an academic calendar -- seeking fresh starts and new challenges every September.

Well September is here again.
And once again my life seems to be in flux -- filling with new people, places and things, as others disappear.
I've added two clients this month, while I have completed my projects with two others.
I've agreed to help a friend launch his new businesses, while another old friend has suspended his plans to create a new publication.
And as the children of many old friends begin their college years, I'm mourning the death of the woman I loved during my own undergraduate days. Furthermore I'm pondering the strangeness of learning about her death in a phone call from her daughter, who is now roughly the same age her mother was when we met some thirty Septembers ago.

Life, it seems, is both horribly short and strangely and touchingly long.

With all that is happening, I've had to pull back from a few commitments.
1. First and foremost, I will not be attending the Folio Show in Chicago next week. I apologize to all my friends who had hoped to chat in person during the show and to anyone who had hoped to attend my presentation or to read my opinions on the show.
I am, however, still planning to attend the College Media Advisers convention in Kansas City next month (I'll be hosting a session) and the Health Content 08 Show in Philadelphia in November (I'm sure to be blogging about that.) I hope to see many of you at both places.
2. A handful of readers also know I had planned to debut a news and information site of my own this month that would serve a tiny, specialized audience in a B2B vertical. But taking care of my paying clients and helping my friends has taken priority (as it should.) I hope to find the time to launch that site within a few more weeks.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

A valuable additon to the media blogosphere

Just a quick note to make note of the addition of Harry McCracken to the world of media blogging.

Anyone who pays attention to B2B publishing knows Harry and knows he recently left PC World to start Technologizer, a tech blog backed by Federated Media.

Now Harry has launched a second blog -- this one covering his adventures as a media entrepreneur. Add it to your RSS reader.

Read this earlier post for more on Harry.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cygnus defaults on debt; Moody's cuts ratings

I'm swamped today with business tasks and a family emergency. So I can't do much more than point to the news that Cygnus has defaulted on a portion of its debt. Credit-rating agency Moody's responded by cutting its rating on the B2B publisher.

I expect we'll see a lot more of this from those companies that are in similar trouble -- choking on debt, tied to expensive print production and dependent on a staff that has lost faith.

Click here to see an earlier post on Cygnus' financial woes.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ASBPE and the next generation of journalists

Anyone who knows me knows how much time I put into working with college journalists. It's the part of my career that I enjoy the most.
And although it's true, as my wife likes to joke, that there's something fundamentally wrong with putting lots of effort into the part of my career that I don't get paid for, I don't care. I think the work is both important and fun. And there's just not enough of that in the rest of my working life.

But one of the troubling things I've noted is how little involvement the rest of the B2B world has with college journalism. When I attend conventions, visit campuses, etc., I'm often the only B2B professional for miles around.
So I'm thrilled by the news that the American Society of Business Publication Editors is deepening its involvement with the next generation of journalists.
ASBPE yesterday announced the details of a new, nonprofit organization called the ASBPE Foundation. (The Foundation was first announced at the ASBPE conference in July -- where I had the good fortune to be the keynote speaker.)
According to the foundation's Web site, the organization will "fund travel of ASBPE leaders to journalism schools" to give presentations on careers in B2B media. Even more exciting is that the Foundation plans to endow a universtity chair -- the ASBPE Professor of Business-to-Business Journalism.
I'm so happy about this -- and so proud of ASBPE for taking this step -- that I can't stop smiling.

If you'd like to help the next generation of journalists understand the opportunities in B2B, there are three things you can do.
First, consider a donation to the Foundation.
Second, make plans to visit the College Media Advisers Conference in Kansas City next month. I plan to be there. Stop on by my presentation and meet some of the bright young folks you'll be working with soon.
Three, follow developments in journalism education through the Innovation in College Media blog.

If you'd like to learn more about what I've learned in my recent visits with college journalists, check out my four-part series from earlier this year.

For a look at how journalism students look at journalism education in 2008, check out this post by a student at NYU or this related post by a student at Penn State. (Hat tip to Mindy McAdams for pointing me to those students.)

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Harry McCracken's Guide to Self-Employment

Longtime readers of this blog know I began predicting years ago that low-cost Web technologies and open-source software would lead many B2B journalists to quit their jobs and strike on out on their own.
And regular readers know that the highest-profile editor to make the leap to standalone journalist is Harry McCracken, formerly of PC World.

Now Harry has published a sort of how-to guide for anyone interested in following in his entrepreneurial footsteps. If you've been thinking it might be time to work for yourself, check it out.

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