The Coming Death of Self-Publishing
FEBRUARY 14, 2012
It won’t be long before self-publishing as a concept is dead. That’s not to say that the activity of publishing, whether it’s done by an individual, a small loose-knit group, or a corporation, is in decline. In fact, it’s healthier and growing faster than ever. These distinctions were once a reliable measure of quality. But the rise of self-publishing has complicated the equation.
Paul Conley: Has the Content Marketing Dream Become a Nightmare?
DECEMBER 6, 2011
Paul Conley. In the trade magazine business, not generally known for early adoption of new-media developments, Paul Conley is something of an anomaly. He is, as he puts it, “hypersensitive to how new technology opens up opportunities in old worlds.” He ” He was among the first in the trade press to recognize the significance of social media. They panic when someone complains.
E-Books: The Next Front for Journalists in Transition
SEPTEMBER 19, 2011
Over the weekend, I read a couple of blog posts that highlighted for me the shifting battlefront in the digital-media wars. Twitter is no longer a matter for debate among thinking journalists. Twitterland is settled, and the analog natives have either converted or consigned themselves to the dustbin of history. The next front is something quite different: e-books. In response to a reader of his superb recent series of posts on why and how to use Twitter, Steve Buttry addressed the question of how to handle curmudgeonly journalists who continue to resist it. He gave two answers. Probably not.
Swabbing the Decks of the Titanic: Why You Should Learn Programming
OCTOBER 19, 2011
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The Tyranny of Images: Why Instagram and Pinterest Worry Me
APRIL 9, 2012
Today’s news that the mobile photo-sharing platform Instagram has been acquired by Facebook for $1 billion underscores a trend that’s been gnawing at me for the last few months. Mark Zuckerberg clearly understands that images are an increasingly important element in social discourse. guess I fear that the emphasis now being given to the visual is upsetting that balance.
The Perils of Corporate-Personal Twitter Names
JULY 25, 2011
In a post today on The Wall , Tom Callow addressed the tricky question of ownership of journalists’ Twitter accounts. If employees use a Twitter ID that combines their names with those of their employers’ brands, whose account is it? The issue is more complicated than you might think, and isn’t likely to be resolved anytime soon. Tweet under a personal name, like @johnbethune.
Journalism, Professionalism, and the Turing Test
MAY 9, 2012
What’s the way forward for journalists? Doubling down on the traditional ideals of objectivity and impartiality? Embracing the subjective, personality-driven approach of social media? Or is there some uncertain, ill-defined middle way? The problem with traditional news is that traditional journalists are increasingly unnecessary to produce it. You should behave accordingly.”. I don’t disagree.
Three Tips for Simple but Effective Infographics
MARCH 29, 2011
Angela Alcorn's Advice on Infographics. Last Friday’s post on infographics got much more attention than I expected from an impromptu effort. It’s evidently a topic that resonates with all kinds of content creators, not just journalists. That being the case, it’s not really enough for me to say that infographics are useful and cool and that you need to use them. Three Infographic Tips.
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Infographic skills: No longer optional for journalists
MARCH 25, 2011
First, a confession: My first reason for writing this post is so I can embed a really cool infographic about Google on my blog. But the fact that I want to do it reflects the power and beauty of infographics. good infographic combines the visual splendor of print with the accessibility and engagement of the Web. It encourages your readers to dwell on data they would otherwise skim over.
Rethinking the Article as the Basic Unit of Journalism
JUNE 2, 2011
A spate of recent blog posts have, independently it seems, questioned the traditional preeminence of the article as the basic unit of journalism. The first of these, chronologically, is a liveblogged review by Adam Tinworth of a News:Rewired conference session on liveblogging. In it, Tinworth summarizes a point made by presenter Matt Wells of the Guardian : “Matt thinks that liveblogs are one of the best ways of covering stories that don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. The inverse pyramid story may be the single biggest reason that journalists are mistrusted.
Three Ways to Annoy People and Produce Great Content
MAY 6, 2011
At first glance, the idea behind content marketing is straightforward and appealing: by publishing great content, you can win friends, influence people, and achieve your marketing goals. But like all great ideas, it’s not as simple or as sunny as it first appears. The problem is this: To make great content, you sometimes have to be a wee bit obnoxious. If you’ve worked much with journalists and editors, you understand. The trait is not genetic, but occupational. They are as nice as anyone else, but if they do their jobs right, they will often rub people the wrong way. Don’t let that stop you.
Ariana Owes Me (and Maybe You) Big Bucks
APRIL 13, 2011
Time to pay up. I’ve never written for the Huffington Post , but I’ve given them something worth much more than words: my attention. So I think it’s only fair that Arianna hand over a reasonable chunk of the $315 million that AOL paid for her site. Sure, Jonathan Tasini and all those other cry babies who are suing her wrote a lot of great content for HuffPo. Not much. Not on your life.
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What Is the Lifespan of an Error?
MARCH 6, 2012
There has been much coverage lately of a new book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal called The Lifespan of a Fact. It relates the years-long debate between D’Agata, an essayist, and Fingal, a fact checker, about whether artistry and accuracy can cohabit in the same nonfiction essay. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the book itself, as Craig Silverman says , “isn’t, you know, factual.”. But no. Jarvis.
Social Media and Ethics: An Interview with B2B Editor Maureen Alley
MARCH 11, 2011
Maureen Alley: Never tweet what you wouldn't say in person. In preparation for my talk in an ASBPE webinar on ethic s next week, I’ve been speaking with B2B editors about how they use social media. Though it’s true that the trade press in general is decidedly behind the curve in this respect, there are notable exceptions. It’s very fluid. Do you manage a social media account for your magazine?
My February Challenge: 10 Tweets a Day
FEBRUARY 1, 2012
It’s somewhat sad, I suppose, that my only effective mode of self-improvement is to set arbitrary goals. But it works. Last November, I challenged myself to write a blog post a day. I am happy to say I met my goal. Although I subsequently fell off the wagon in December (8 posts) and January (5 posts), it still feels like a significant achievement. This month, I’m setting my sights on Twitter. I think of myself as an active and enthusiastic user of the platform, but when I actually calculate my daily tweets, the number is unimpressive. visit to How Often Do You Tweet? tweets a day. Perhaps not.
Dialogue vs. Monologue: Six New-Media Principles, No. 1
NOVEMBER 23, 2011
As I wrote in yesterday’s post , over the next six days I will be discussing six new-media principles, adapted from my forthcoming e-book, the New-Media Survival Guide. Today’s principle is based on the importance and power of conversation, reflecting new media’s emphasis on dialogue rather than monologue. We ignore it at our peril. But that’s the challenge.
Facebook Subscriptions: Overdrive for Journalists?
SEPTEMBER 15, 2011
Though I understand its appeal, I’ve never found Facebook compelling. What I’ve taken to be its core assumptions—that one’s world is divided into friends and everyone else, and that all your friends are friends in exactly the same way—just don’t work for me. With Facebook’s introduction yesterday of Twitter-like subscriptions , though, that could change. Related posts: Be Yourself.
Digital Drudgery and Second-Stage Shovelware
FEBRUARY 23, 2011
In a post earlier this month, I raised the sensitive question of whether legacy print journalists might be unduly worried about the workload involved in social media. It spurred a substantial number of comments, and even played a small role in that all-too rara avis, a blog post by Paul Conley. He’s right, of course. didn’t put it very well. The problem, he explains, is second-stage shovelware.
Editorial Quality Vs. Revenue: A False Dichotomy
SEPTEMBER 30, 2011
On its blog earlier this month, the American Society of Business Publication Editors published an anonymous and despairing note from one of its members. In it, the magazine editor described a frustrating planning meeting with his counterparts in advertising sales. Though the editor had done thorough reader research in proposing editorial topics for an upcoming magazine project, the sales staff would have none of it: The topics I suggested would provide the basis for good editorial quality; however, our sales team deemed them too difficult to sell sponsorships. But that’s not fair.
Is the Distinction Between Consumer and B2B Media Still Meaningful?
OCTOBER 21, 2011
Writing this week in Folio: , Matt Kinsman asks “Why Do Consumer Stars So Often Fail to Shine in B-to-B?” It’s no criticism of Kinsman, whose work I admire, that after reading this piece I could only ask in return, “who cares anymore?”. In his article he reflects on the departures of Richard Beckman and Michael Wolff from trade publisher Prometheus Global Media. Their effort to use their consumer publication experience to add luster to business-to-business books like Adweek and The Hollywood Reporter failed, he writes, because “useful trumps sexy.”. Fair enough. Now it seems merely quaint.
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New-Media Survival at SIPA 2012
MAY 15, 2012
As regular readers of this blog will know, one of my frequent topics here is surviving the new-media revolution. Next Monday I’ll be sharing my ideas on this topic at the annual meeting of the Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA) in Washington, DC. If you can’t make it to SIPA, fear not. expect there will be more than a few attendees reporting on the event.
Fear and Social Media Don’t Mix
NOVEMBER 19, 2011
MUD day 19: A friend of mine who works for a large nonprofit institution serves on a panel that’s trying to decide what the institution should think and do about social media. Should it encourage its employees and other stakeholders to use social media? Should it restrict what they say and do there? Or should it stay strictly hands off, neither aiding nor impeding social media activities?
Breaking News: People Who Like Print, Like Print
OCTOBER 28, 2011
There’s been a minor buzz this week in B2B circles about recent survey results suggesting that paper magazines and newsletters remain extremely important to business professionals. I’m sure it’s true. I’m also sure it’s not very meaningful. Just because you like something doesn’t mean it’s not dead. have nothing but admiration for the company and its staff. Yes, many people still love print.
Connecting the Dots from Steve Jobs to Me
OCTOBER 8, 2011
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Speech , 2005. Steve Jobs and I were classmates at Reed College —we both matriculated in September 1972. If you were to poll Reedies from that era, how many could honestly say they remember Steve? Probably just a few. So did I. Was it the same one? I can only speculate.
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Should You Edit Guest Posts? 5 Tips for Better Copy
JUNE 7, 2011
There’s wide agreement in the blogging world about the benefits of guest posts, both for the guest blogger and the blog owner. There seems to be less consensus, however, about the logical next question: If you use guest posts, should you edit them? In a way, I’m asking a trick question. As I explain below, the moment you accept an article, you’ve already started to edit it. Not to finish the job would do a disservice both to your guest blogger and to yourself. The real question, then, is just how much editing you should do. Give fair warning. The last thing you want is an unhappy guest blogger.
Like It or Not, Mobile Connectivity Is the New Imperative
SEPTEMBER 1, 2011
I went on vacation last month, a pleasant road trip up the Pacific coast to Washington state. didn’t intend it to be an experiment in social media deprivation, but because I had only a dumb cell phone and the occasional borrowed computer, it turned into one. What did I learn by taking a three-week break from social networks? didn’t come back thinking how great it was to take a break from Twitter.
Do B2B Editors Get Twitter?
AUGUST 12, 2011
As with other business-to-business content creators these days, there are few trade press editors who don’t have—and at least occasionally use—a Twitter account. The obvious promotional benefits of this social media tool have led most trade publishers to insist, rightly, that their editors use it. But how many use Twitter not just for promotion, but for its most valuable benefit, social engagement? There’s no authoritative answer that I know of. But my own unscientific survey suggests that the number of editors who really get Twitter is small indeed. found seven who met this standard. Editor.
Why Publishers Need Early Adopters, Annoying or Not
JULY 15, 2011
Yesterday, B2B editor and blogger Maureen Alley wrote a provocative post declaring that early adopters are annoying. I’m not sure she means it. Alley herself, after all, stands out among young B2B journalists for being well ahead of her peers in adopting the tools and ethos of social media. If anything, the B2B industry needs to encourage early adopters, not bemoan them. Trade publishing has declined for plenty of other reasons as well, but resistance to new technologies and modes of communication has been a critical factor. But few publishers need to be warned against that.
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It’s Time to Embrace Editorial as a Profit Center
JUNE 13, 2011
Early this week, Steve Yelvington made a comment on Twitter that reminded me of something I’ve been mulling over for some time. Our newsrooms (or whatever we choose to call them) should be engines of success,” he said , “not cost centers.”. He’s right, but I prefer stronger phrasing. If the people who hold the pursestrings are to pay attention, we need to call editorial what it is: a profit center. As any editor who’s somehow crept into the upper echelons of B2B publication management will know, the language of accounting and spreadsheets rules most boardroom discussions.