Thursday, March 26, 2009

On backward hat wearing and fool's gold

Jim Carty has posted Part III of his interview with the "content director" or "chief content director" whatever his goofy title is at the new

Some of the "characters" from my Journal era will appreciate the humor of the following excerpt:

"We'll turn a lot over to them, and just let them go after that audience and make it their own. A lot of that is just going to be what they do. They live there, and I can't do that, and I won't try to. My job is more immediate and a little more traditional - to get that existing audience that we've got to start with and bring them with us to a new company that has to succeed. But there will be a lot of kids wearing baseball caps backwards and tennis shoes, to reach an audience that I am not tuned into or capable of reaching."

Sounds like what they are inventing is Drudge with a YouTube addition. Done and done.

I still contend if you were going to roll out a "new and exciting product, one like nothing anyone has ever seen before" you wouldn't have done the roll out with a podcast so boring and predictable that it could be used in place of Ambien for sleep inducement. You have to wonder if anyone at Newhouse has even seen this video?

Carty does a good job of confronting him about the folly of three (four if you count the "man behind the curtain" revealed in the story) Advance/Booth retreads leading this "new" venture.

What he doesn't explain (and frankly what Advance and Booth have never explained or found an answer to) is "how is this going to make money?"

Carty is certainly ruining any pretense at my blogging sabbatical. What they should do to make this thing work is simply hire Carty and Mary Morgan, a former Ann Arbor News writer who now produces the online newspaper, AnnArborChronicle and let them run the thing.

The bottom line is that this is still about the upper management at Booth protecting their own "phony, baloney" jobs. (Just couldn't resist another "Blazing Saddles" reference).


Blended Family said...

One can never fully justify a transition of this magnitude.

I am not a part of the newspaper industry, but I have friends that work for the FJ and I have enjoyed newspapers for a long time.

For all of the touting of the web that is going on, the powers that be are going through a phase of giddiness. A giddiness that I can describe as, "Wow, we're on the Internet! The sky is the limit. We're going to be on the forefront of change!" I thought that I was hot stuff too, because I knew my way around a Content Management System (CMS) and knew some html.

No, the Internet is a constant evolutionary concept. They may think that they are on the forefront of change, but alas, others will think that they are on the forefront too. The Internet feeds existing egos.

There is a point to my post, really there is. There has to be a cap, in place, by the powers that be to limit the importance of blogger information. I have a feeling that the mucky-mucks are looking at the bottom line and thinking, "WOW, look at all of the money being saved by getting information from the general public out of the blogs on our site."

The average Joe, including myself, has or had a blog at one time. I am not trained as a journalist, nor do I want to be one. The concept of journalistic integrity is going to be dismissed in this new business model, that everyone touts so fervently in the newspaper industry.

Comment interaction on newspaper sites provide comic relief and leads for a reporter to follow up on. But to base a business model on "consumer interaction" may be the downfall of this online presence. I pay to subscribe to news, not what some "joe" says from the comfort of their living room.

/rant off

Anonymous said...


"Community Meetings

We will be holding a series of community meetings over the coming months to hear your ideas for The meetings will take place at different times and locations around the community, these are the first three."

If "copy editors" were involved in this "content creation," they may have pointed out:

Redundancy: The words "community" and "meetings" are each used three times in this short passage.

Comma splice: The last sentence is actually two complete sentences joined by a comma. Either a period or semi-colon is in order.

Bill Forward

rknil said...

I have been referring to the "We're the future!" crowd as the Hats in Reverse bunch.

Now this guy is using that image as his objective.

It's humorous when life imitates art, especially when the imitators try to claim they are the innovators.

Anonymous said...

Soon-to-be-former AAN employees hate the idea of now.

The only thing that could make it more distasteful to them is if Carty was running it.

Anonymous said...

I would like to hear other peoples suggestions on how they could actually improve or at least sell more papers.
I just don't believe enough is being done to improve the product to compete.

These papers have always been penny wise and dollar foolish. It takes money to make money: they are taking money to make money.