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February 2006 Archives

February 5, 2006

New Home Page

If you come into this page directly, please let me suggest that you click on the "Dan Rosenbaum Home" link. The Web site that contains this Weblog has undergone significant renovations. You may find them interesting.


February 12, 2006

Where's the Rest of Me?

I'm migrating away from the increasingly abandoned Radio Userland toward the better-supported Movable Type. Getting content from the old blog to the new one is going to be a little bit of a process, I'm afraid.

Until I get everything straightened out here, you can still see my historical content at the old Over the Edge site. Update: Move completed. Everything over there is now over here, and clicks to the old site will be redirected here. The root URL -- www.danrosenbaum.com -- remains active and links to this blog.

Sorry for the extra clicks. I'll get it cleared up (and make this place look a little more lived-in) as soon as I climb the learning curve here.

February 13, 2006

Well, That Wasn't So Bad

All the posts from my old Radio blog at www.danrosenbaum.com have, by some miracle, made it here intact. Thanks go to Bill Kearney's script. But, dude, would it have killed you to include some end-user instructions like "Step 1: Face the computer and put your hands on the keyboard"?

Next step is to pretty up the environment -- hang some pictures on the wall, put up the curtains, hook up the stereo, move the furniture around. Things like that.

If you're looking for something to read in the meantime, take a look at that Newspapers and the Net link over there by the "Recent Posts" link down on the right. It got kind of buried in the transition.

February 17, 2006

End of the Blogs?

Slate's Daniel Gross gets all meta today with a fin de siecle article claiming that blogging is dead because Big Media is noticing it and wants to play.  Like an good trend piece, he picks four data points and extrapolates:

  • Whatever trend gets on magazine covers is immediately dead.
  • Early entrants sell out
  • Big Media buys in
  • Gullible VCs buy in 

A close reading, however, shows that the four points are really just two: The Sports Illustrated Curse, and Money Changes Everything.

Is all the corporate money spent on blogging being spent wisely? Of course not; that's why it's called venture money. Money in media goes where the audience is and it's insanely valuable to find an audience that already exists, as opposed to one that you have to try to create.

The problem isn't that online media valuations are out of line. The problem, which Gross never quite gets to, is that big valuations expect big returns. Ad money is flowing out of print and out of mass media and into online media. The returns will be there, at least for a while, because the technical investment -- servers and bandwidth and whatnot -- is long since sunk.

The trick, as it always is, is to find a way to converse with this audience in ways it finds appropriate. And what's different in 2006 than it was in 2001 is that the audience is much bigger now and that it grew by itself.  The other difference: marketers have five years' experience in figuring out how to converse with an online audience -- Slate's own valuation notwithstanding.

And if they blow it? The audience will stop listening and find some other place to congregate and talk amongst itself. At which point the cycle will begin again.

The New Newspapers

A long Salon article that starts out unpromisingly by repeating old news about the dumbed down free tabloids aimed at young adults gets suddenly exciting at the end of the third take. (You'll have to watch an ad to get that far, but it's worth it.) That's when Farhad Manjoo introduces us to Rob Curley, the new media editor of the Naples (Fla.) Daily News.

 Curley gets it -- completely and profoundly:

The Curley method is to convert small regional newspapers into powerhouses on the Web and make them indispensable to their communities -- as indispensable as print newspapers once were, or should have been, to the regions they served. He counsels newsrooms to focus their resources on gathering local news. With the Web, national news has been "commoditized"; you can get national news anywhere, and local newspapers aren't going to beat out bigger papers -- or other news sites, such as Yahoo -- that provide national coverage.


When papers embrace their mission to provide local news thoroughly, efficiently and in any manner people choose -- in print, online or whatever other device people may want to start using tomorrow -- audiences will flock to them, Curley says. He points to his efforts in Lawrence, Kan., where the three Web sites he created for the Lawrence Journal-World became the center of that college town's daily life.

Can this business model stand on its own? No one's proven it yet. But this is where newspapers win -- by divorcing themselves from the medium and focusing on the information and the audience.

Ten years ago, when I was editing NetGuide, we'd review hundreds of Web sites a month. My publisher once asked me what our criteria were. We ask ourselves, "Is it useful?" I told her. Does the site have good information presented in a way that its readers want? The publisher, expecting a detailed and weighted punch list of features, was puzzled by the response, which may be one reason NetGuide ultimately failed.

Ten years later, the answer's still good. Own your market. Be useful. People will come.

Let me be clear: I want to either work for Rob Curley or be Rob Curley. This is a guy who knows the answer.

February 22, 2006

Hed of the Day

This is entirely skippable, but the hed on UnBeige appealed to the print geek in me.

732, by the way, is a deep shade of brown. 

DJ Reorg Puts WSJ Print and Online Together

I don't know any of the players so I don't know the inside baseball, but the Dow Jones reorganization announced today feels like most of a right move. It puts the online and print versions of the WSJ under the same management, so all those horses have at least a chance of pulling in the same direction. The NYTimes has the same idea, combining print and online into a common newsroom. (The NYT's locution of its "Continuous News Desk" has always bugged me though; isn't the very nature of news continuous?)

Sticking the DJ wire in a different group, along with the stock averages and other market services, first struck me as a little odd but has a strong logic. The wire and market services are, essentially, reseller services and are available to be repackaged. Not so much the Journal or Barrons. The client bases for the newspapers and the information services are just different.

The Ottaway newspapers are an entirely different business and need their own separate management.


About February 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Over the Edge in February 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2006 is the previous archive.

March 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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