Monthly archive

July 2005 - page 4

Why we need a "new new new media"

Today’s DMN story on a neighborhood-naming contest was the first real coverage I’ve seen of the Ferguson Road Initiative, the confederation of neighborhood associations that’s trying to weed out crime in my part of town. That led to it being reported read on the news radio stations this morning.

I’m glad of the publicity, but as I’ve reported before, there’s a lot more of interest there — specifically the weed and seed grant that could make a big dent in neighborhood crime.

But based on the coverage today, if I was just learning about the group, where would I easily find more? Would I care to based on a story that touches on little more than the naming issue?

This isn’t a complaint about the specific story, but there needs to be a way to connect the archive of information on such a topic and make it easy for someone to find more depth. That’s an open archive, and that’s tagging. And it’s presenting it in a way that the user doesn’t even have to understand that tags are driving it.

At the same time, some questions in a TV interview I gave yesterday (more on that later) reminded me of why blogs, or any other format of non-professional news can’t be comprehensive. Brilliant? Insightful? High-quality? Absolutely.

But comprehensive in a way that a daily newspaper and a blog can’t be. That’ll be something…

UPDATE: Another way of looking at it? The Long Tail without filters is just noise.

Supporting our allies

This morning, Jeff Harrell suggested that I and others run Union Jacks on our blogs in solidarity with our British allies in the wake of the terrorist bombings.

I think that’s a great idea, but I’m going to take a slightly different tack– I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership lately: In our neighborhoods, in our city and in the world. And driving in to the office this morning, I heard a radio host pondering whether Tony Blair’s response would be more Chamberlain-esque or Churchill-esque.

So instead, I’m running the attached art, which also hangs on the wall of my partner Kevin’s office.

And if you’re wondering how this is hyperlocal — Every terrorist lives in a neighborhood, somewhere.

A great time to be a reporter in Dallas

I’m surprised to see the story on the averted mayoral recall buried so deep in the DMN‘s site. To any city politics junkie, this stuff is pure gold.

In my mind, there are two big questions unanswered unasked in the coverage so far:

  • What was the deal? Clearly (unless the point below comes into play), some sort of 11th-hour deal was made. You don’t engage in the massive coordinated effort it takes to get 89,000 signatures and then walk away to avoid rancor and unrest. You instigate a recall because of rancor and unrest.
  • 89,000 isn’t enough? I’d like to hear from one of our more politically-connected readers on this, but my recollection from talking to petition pushers is that you need at least 100,000 signatures to get 73,000 good ones. Folks who aren’t registered voters; duplicates; people making joke signatures. So, there’s an outside shot that they knew that the signatures wouldn’t stand up.
  • Is there a connection between this and the Fantroy/Hill investigation? A clear threat, perhaps, about the vigor with which they’d be pursued if the preachers didn’t back down?

Unfortunately, unless a really enterprising reporter pulls one out, we won’t find out what, if any, promise was made to the Clergy for Recall, until that promise is broken.

And I’d bet my fedora that it will be.

Help wanted:Advertising hero

Much like the case of the Curator position, I’m filling this role for now and will continue to do so until we find the right person. We’re looking for someone to lead our advertising sales efforts.

Again, no few firm rules, but some distinguishing characteristics:

  • You’re used to working without a net. In fact, nets kind of annoy you.
  • You find the subtitle of the book pictured repulsive. (Disclaimer: I’ve not read the book and have no idea what’s beyond the cover. It’s just a handy illustration of a point.) You want to find the heaters the Eskimos need; find a way to make a payment in seal pelts work on the balance sheet; and then teach the Eskimos how to feed that heater with better alternative sources of fuel.
  • You’re smart enough to negotiate a deal on the fly, without giving away the store.
  • You’re comfortable selling to Fortune 500 businesses, but give the same energy and attention to a corner dry cleaner.
  • You understand that the most valuable service you can provide to us is making salespeople as close to obsolete as possible. You understand that the only way to achieve that is with smart feet on the street. You’re cool with that.
  • You think that circulation is a "dopey way to gauge impact". You believe in our substitute. You’re ready to ditch that substitute as soon as we find one that’s even better and more precise.
  • You think that the best way to serve advertisers is by treating the readers/viewers the way they want to be treated. You think fewer, more precise ads are a good idea. You aspire to the ideal of "every ad a wanted ad." Every client is worth a million dollars, but no client is worth screwing the reader, even on a small scale.
  • You’re a junkie for data and metrics. You’re willing to toss them out the window when our collective guts say you should.
  • You have both sold and managed before. (No exceptions here. It could have been a lemonade stand, a high school paper, or ads on the Superbowl — but you have to have done it before.) Your customers and your staff respect(ed) you.
  • You’re comfortable with technology, but understand that it’s only a tool for delivering the truly precious cargo.
  • You’re frustrated with "business as usual" in the media business.
  • You have no particular bias towards on medium over another.
  • You’re a natural leader. You’re a transformational leader as opposed to a transactional leader.      
  • You’re a reverent wiseass.
  • You have a sense of humor about everything but quality.
  • You don’t need a six-figure salary immediately. You’re worth it immediately.
  • You’re in Dallas, or able to get here without much ado.
  • You can handle an office of High Fidelity-esque music snobs. You can appreciate these lyrics in the context of the job you’re about to foolishly quit or forgo.
  • You’re not risk-averse. But you’re not a fool.
  • You to be on the ground floor of a revolution and have a willingness to
    drink the Kool-Aid, but only after adding your own sweetener.

If this sounds like you — really like you and not the person in the mirror who needs a job right now — email us.
Tell us why you want the gig. Attach a resume. Convince us to spend our
last dollar if we have to in order to bring you into the family.

Help wanted:Interns

Interns_1The interns, they’re every bit as important to us right now as the big ticket positions. (And the pay, for now, is not as dissimilar as you might think!)

The full listing is in the continuation. Duby and Donte (pictured at right) and Caroline (not pictured and regrettably out sick — feel better soon!) can’t wait for you to join them!

Please respond by email.

Keep Reading

Help wanted:Curator-in-Chief

In a more traditional world, we’d call this Editor-in-Chief. But prerequisite #1 for this job is that you understand the distinction between the two.

We have a very distinct editorial vision for Pegasus News. To date, I’m the primary advocate and guardian of that vision. But, it will soon be time for an editorial partner who can both enact and challenge that vision on a daily basis.

There are no few absolutes regarding qualifications for this position, but there are some characteristics that we’d consider a big plus:

  • Having worked in a professional news organization before, preferably with experience on a daily, preferably on a metro desk.
  • Experience working with both unpaid and paid contributors.
  • Knowing that "your readers always know more than you do." Knowing who I’m quoting in that statement.
  • Knowing that in an open-source world, the reporter’s job does not end once the story is filed.
  • Having blogged. Knowing what an RSS feed is, and desiring to find out what the "next medium" is that will make it seem comical in five years.
  • Being comfortable with technology, but understanding that it’s only a tool for delivering the truly precious cargo.
  • Being frustrated with "business as usual" in the news business.
  • Understanding that inexpensive doesn’t necessarily mean shoddy. Believing that free, over the long haul, usually does.
  • Having been frustrated by seeing a story "spiked" in a newsroom because of business interest, timidity or so-called political correctness. Understanding that such stories can lead to discussions like this.
  • Being a natural leader. Being a transformational leader as opposed to a transactional leader.
  • Having no snobbery about medium or message. Understanding that an SMS text message should aspire be as impactful as a 10,000 word expose. Treating a restaurant review or youth sports listing with the same respect as a "hot scoop."
  • Understanding the difference between objectivity and fairness.
  • Understanding the following statement:

    What you people call serendipity, we call links. What you people call
    the homepage, we call Bloglines. What you call indepth-reporting, we
    call blogging a story to death.

    Knowing who said it before following the link.

  • Being a reverent wiseass.
  • Having a sense of humor about everything but quality.
  • Not needing a six-figure salary immediately. Being worth it immediately.
  • Being in Dallas, or able to get here without much ado.
  • Ability to handle a bunch of High Fidelity-esque music snobs. You can appreciate these lyrics in the context of the job you’re rashly about to quit or forgo.
  • Not being risk-averse. But not being a fool.
  • Wanting to be on the ground floor of a revolution. A willingness to drink the Kool-Aid, but only after adding ones own sweetener.

If this sounds like you — really like you and not the person in the mirror who needs a job right now — email us. Tell us why you want the gig. Attach a resume. Convince us to spend our last dollar if we have to in order to bring you into the family.

UPDATE: Just to clarify, we’ll eventually be hiring a reasonably-sized editorial staff including a managing editor, a community editor, a meta-tag editor, reporters and columnists. Just because you think you aren’t experienced enough to take the "Lou Grant" job doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go ahead and talk to us now. When we do staff up, it’ll be a whirlwind, and the people we already know will certainly have the inside line. And if you’re in a position where you’re able to work today for a hamburger tomorrow (and a fridge full of sodas), we might even have room for you now. Especially if you have your own laptop.

Most of the same qualifications apply. But if you’re in doubt, talk to us. We don’t bite.

Join us

Shackleton_recruitYou may have noticed by the dearth of recent posts that we’ve gotten pretty busy. You may have even surmised that we’re a bit beyond the talking stage. We’re still several months from launch, but are at the point that we’re ready to talk about bringing on more staff.

With apologies to readers who visit us strictly for their regular dose of media snark, the next few posts are help wanted ads. Some for paid positions; some for citizen contributors. Each post will have specific contact instructions.

Loose ends on the site move

So, the site move is complete, and judging from traffic, we didn’t lose anyone. It looks like the "we’ve moved" message from the old site did make its way into our feed, but if that’s the worst of it, that’s not too bad.

I’ve gotten some rave(ing) reviews about the placeholder marketing page, none of them positive. It will be changing soon, but we’re working offline on our "real" logo, look and feel, etc. and it doesn’t seem to be a good use of time to doctor up a marketing page that’s going to change 180-degrees in a couple weeks. For now, its sole purpose is to impart that the this blog isn’t the actual Pegasus News product, which is TK.

(Replaced with a far superior, if still temporary splashpage, courtesy of our design team.)

I’ve gotten a couple emails from folks who seem incredulous that we’re building an ambitious news site on Typepad. We’re not. This is but another weighstation.

Finally, one thing that needs to be reinforced in the move to our own account is our gratitude to Jeff Harrell, who blogs at The Shape of Days (which is the only non-media-specific blog that I make time to read). Not only did he host us back in the days when even a Typepad account was too rich for our blood — he designed the look and feel of this blog and did a ridiculous amount of hand-coding to make everything work. (Note: Don’t blame Jeff for the placeholder homepage– that’s all on me.)

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