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July 2005 - page 3

Apres ads, le deluge

in Uncategorized

Shackleton_recruit_1The response to our postings for editorial, advertisingintern and citizen journalist positions has been touchingly overwhelming. The touching part is that I’ve yet to see a single response that didn’t include a lengthy and well-thought out personalized letter that indicated a thorough reading and understanding of our stuff. I’ve been hiring people for almost fifteen years and never had that kind of response before. I think hope that’s a good validation of what we’re trying to do here.

Don’t let that dishearten you from responding — keep the cards and letters coming. But also, please understand that there are only four of us who can interview — one is out of town; one is out sick; and we’re living la vida startup, which means lots of balls in the air. And with the news coverage that (I think) we’re getting tonight, it’s only going to get more hectic.

Everyone who sends us a personalized inquiry will get a personal response. But understand that it may be this weekend before we can get to everyone. Feel free to email me a tickler if you haven’t heard from us by next week.

Busy bullets

in Uncategorized

Been so swamped that there was a huge backlog of stuff in my Bloglines file. Here’s some highlights:

More TK…

A pledge

in Uncategorized

Dan Gillmor points out an annoying online advertising practice with which Dallas readers will be familiar. (Every time the ad pops under, it increases the number of Cowboys games I won’t go to next season).

So let’s make this clear now:

  • We will never have a pop-up ad.
  • We will never have a pop-under ad.
  • We will never have an ad that animates to obscure content.
  • We will never have an ad that produces sound, unless you have specifically clicked on that ad.

It’s not just the right thing for users — It’s the right thing for advertisers.

The Adsel

in Uncategorized

The DBJ reports that local car dealers are cutting back on print advertising in the wake of price hikes absent circulation gains:


"I’ll just cut back on the exposure," [John Eagle] said. "I’m not sure how
effective newspaper advertising is anyway; I know for some dealerships
it does pretty well." Most of his customers are in the 29-32 age group
and started their new-car search on the Internet, Eagle added.

I sure hope they can find a local place to run those ads.

A vision for the West End

in Uncategorized

Somewhere during Robert Randolph’s cover of "Billie Jean," at Taste of Dallas, it came to me. (Not Bairstow and drugs, but that’s a lede to thrill and terrify.):

Like most Dallasites I know, I wouldn’t typically be caught dead in the West End on a Saturday night. It’s stereotypically tourista-land, home to chain restaurants and visitors who don’t know any better. But without any evening attractions other than restaurants and tourist-focused merchants to draw a crowd, it’s looked upon by most locals as sterile and un-cool.

And the tourist trade alone doesn’t make for a vibrant entertainment district. That’s probably why the West End Marketplace is so fallow these days.

But Saturday night, with the streets packed with people and great music at multiple stages, the West End seemed downright cool. It had a Bourbon-Street-sans-vomit feel to it. I’d like to see that more often. And with the advantage of the DART line, it should draw more than Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville, with the right kind of attractions.

So my modest proposal to bring me and other locals back on a regular basis?

  • Close Market Street every week from 6 PM Friday to 3 AM Sunday.
       
  • Make the West End a safe zone from open-container laws. I don’t know what the legal process is, but basically the equivalent of what goes on during the Taste o’ Dallas. Add a couple of those hurricane stands that populate Bourbon Street.
       
  • Put a half-dozen cops on patrol.
       
  • Run the DART rail until 2:00 AM on Friday and Saturday nights.
       
  • Live music outdoors every weekend. At least one free stage, even if it’s a cover band. Another view would be to open a Stubbs-esque venue, perhaps on the same parking lot that housed the main stage for this weekend’s festival. But it’s important that it be open air, like Stubbs, so that the music can bleed out onto the street.

So, get to it!

Professional podcasting

in Uncategorized

Jt_podcast_1Way back when, we had some discussion of the importance of podcasting, as a counterpoint to my enthusiasm over wireless text messaging.

With Apple’s recent addition of podcasting support to Itunes, I’ve done a lot more playing with podcasting in the past couple weeks. I was able to get podcasts before, but even if it wasn’t difficult, it was inconvenient. Itunes fixed that.

I was listening to several podcasts on my morning walk with April today, and some thoughts about podcasting gelled for me:

  • I am far less tolerant of amateur audio than I am of text. I find myself only really wanting podcasts of professional shows like On the Media and Le Show. I’ve been downloading several other podcasts that I should, on paper, like. And I do like parts of them. But I just can’t slug through the ums, ahs, and chatter about peoples’ kids, family, etc. Even when there’s other good stuff in there. Which brings up the other point…
       
  • There’s a lot of talk about video and audio eclipsing text online. But there’s something to be said for the ease of skipping through irrelevant text to find what you’re seeking. And for the ability to read a bit without distracting others in an open office or public place.

This is not intended to be a podcast-bashing, or disrespect for non-print citizen journalists. But with the additional attention demanded by audio and video, I think the quality and relevance bar is higher.


UPDATE: Mark Cuban says it better, and with more experience.

Caveat telephoner

in Uncategorized

One advisory for folks who are starting to contact us via our office phone number: We’re all mostly using our cell phones still, and the primary use of the office line is for faxes and the hordes of telemarketers to whom SBC sold our number 18 seconds after its installation. So, if you don’t already know us well enough to have our cell numbers, email is your best bet. We only check the answering machine once every couple days.

And to the nice lady who called this morning, we are not offering bone density scans this week.

Brother, can you spare ten dimes?

in Uncategorized

UPDATE 10/4/05 4:55 PM:
Lifetime subscription offer has expired!

In a few days, we’ll have a new subscription registration page for you to subscribe under our launch offer, which will still be a great deal. In the meantime, if you’ve got a sob story about missing out because of famine, fire, flood, plague of locusts, etc. send us an email and we’ll see what we can do.)



So we’re
back to where we were in 1904 –  except
that the guys on the corner shouting WUXTRY, WUXTRY aren’t
grimy urchins
selling the paper – they’re the people who wrote
the damn thing, too.


  James
Lileks

 

NewsieWUXTRY, WUXTRY! READ
ALL ABOUT IT!

What’s
"it"? It’s everything you could possibly want to know about your city and
your neighborhood, in one place. It’s stories about what’s happening on
your street, side-by-side with the latest news from City Hall; last
night’s Rangers game and your kid’s soccer league.

It’s
your chance to connect with your neighbors without an editor getting in
the way. It’s a way to ensure that day in, day out, you’ll get a wealth
of words, photos, audio and video that you couldn’t get before, and
that you won’t have to trudge through a lot of noise to find the things
that are relevant to you.

And
we’ll deliver it in any format you like that is within our means: Come
to the website. Get a daily customized email. Be a high-tech showoff
and subscribe to our RSS feeds. Get a quick text message on your cell
phone. Open your window and let our carrier pigeon drop in for a chat.1

It’s
coming soon, but here’s the catch. News revolutions don’t just throw
themselves together. We need your help. Soon enough, that will mean reporting
on the things that you are passionate about
; things
about which you know far more than any of our staff reporters.

But
for now, we need your money. $1 of it, to be exact.2

Why do
we need your dollar? Two simple reasons:

  • Every dollar we get is proof that there is a desire for
    this kind of news service in our cities.
       
  • Our interns are starting to demand sodas. And even at Sams
    Club, caffeine ain’t free.

Howspend_5

A
whole buck. 100 pennies. A lot of cha-ching, eh? But what will you get
for that princely sum?

A
lifetime subscription to Pegasus News.









What
does that mean, exactly?

The
subscriptions we sell at launch will range
in price from $12-$75/year, depending on your level of participation.
(In an unusual twist, the more of our services you use, the cheaper a
subscription will be.) On top of that, we’re going to give our most
active subscribers cash rebates when they shop at our advertisers.

Your
$1 makes you eligible for all of that. Forever. Think you’ll live
another twenty years? Then, even assuming we never raise our prices
(ha!), you’re getting a minimum of $240 in value for a measly buck. And
with modern medicine advancing every day, you can probably take us for
at least twice that much.

Bang_3

It’s
a no-risk proposition. In the extraordinarily unlikely event that we
don’t launch our product, right before we commit hari-kari, we’ll
refund your dollar in full.3


Just click the secure PayPal link below, and we’ll do the rest.


 
 
 
 

If the email address on your PayPal account changes, it is your
responsibility to let us know so that we can start your subscription
when we launch. We’re not your mother; we can’t keep tabs on all your
wheelings and dealings. Also, a shipping address is required so that
we’ll be able to say how many come from each city and because we might
just send you a thank-you gift later on.

This offer is available until we end it by noting it on this page. We’ll probably shut it down shortly before announcing our official launch date.


Too rich for your blood? Still want to know what we’re doing and when
we’re launching? Send us an email and we’ll let you know what’s up.4


1
We will not actually send a carrier pigeon to your house.
They are filthy, nasty creatures and will not read you the news.

2
Actually, that’s $1 plus sales tax. The State of Texas makes
us charge
sales tax on online subscriptions, while daily newspapers get a free
ride. Hardly fair, is it?

3
We do not warrant that an act of hari-kari will actually be
committed. But you’ll still get your money back.

4
We will not email you more than twice a month, and we will NEVER
give your address to anyone else.

The long tail of "long tail captions"

in Uncategorized

After I emailed it to him, Chris "Long Tail" Anderson picked up on my idea of alternate captions for the New Yorker’s contest this week.

Lots of good ones. For the small subset of folks who read both Chris and Hugh Macleod, this one’s a scream (and my fave):

"Actually, I found a Savile Row tailor online who specializes in suits for guys like me."

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