Monthly archive

January 2009

Fair-weathered friends

The new refrain in business
The new refrain in business

I’m seeing an unhappy, but perhaps necessary trend in business relationships of late, one that may well be born of our troubling economic times. I can ‘splain best with an example:
Last year, Google approached my company about becoming an “Authorized Adwords Reseller.” The courtship, ramp-up and launch process was high-touch. We had lots of conference calls with lots of people. We had regular email correspondence with the support team– all real people with real names. Our business manager went to Mountain View for live training.
This week, we were unceremoniously dumped from the program via a canned email with no human being’s signature on it. I did get a response to my reply of complaint, but it came from the nameless, faceless, phone numberless “Google AdWords Reseller Team.” Keep Reading

Stuff Journalists (apparently don't) Like: The Chinese Wall

Note: I’ve recently become a fan of the blog Stuff Journalists Like, a different twist on the style of blog started by Stuff White People Like. I submitted the following piece to them, and after more than a week of complete radio silence (during which they posted several other items), I inquired and got a polite response that they didn’t think it fit their vibe. So, I inflict it on you here:
#66: The Chinese Wall
“The Chinese Wall” is a construct by which journalists have long convinced themselves (and only themselves) that they are immune to the vagaries of advertising and corporate management. Referring to the Great Wall of China, it gives a sense of complete separation with the added bonus of sounding vaguely culturally insensitive when uttered in the patois of a crusty Lou Grant figure. It also avoids the even more problematic and provincial “church and state” analogy also used to describe the same phenomenon. Keep Reading

The memoir

autobiography715A quick note to explain a series of posts to follow:
I’ve threatened (and been encouraged by friends) over the years to write some sort of autobiographical tome that spins some of the stranger yarns from my youth in North Carolina and my career (to date) in the media biz. It’s not that I’m necessarily the most interesting fellow on the block, but I had a quirky cast of friends and relatives growing up. And three media startups/relaunches have provided plenty of fodder. I’ve always imagined it as a more-focused / less-briliant David Sedaris kinda thing.
So I’m going to start dribbling out a few posts on my blog to get a feel for the material I’ve got at hand. Feel free to ignore or write it off as cheap therapy for an egomaniac. But also feel free to comment and give me some feedback on the work product as it trudges along.
Meantime, one ground rule: For the time being, I’m going to follow a practice of changing names to protect the guilty. I’ll italicize any such names in the text.

Journalism's new commandments

I’ve been pontificating on this subject for a long time, but today Robert Niles nailed it succinctly:

The old rule: You can’t cover something in which you are personally involved.
The new rule: Tell your readers how you are involved and how that’s shaped your reporting.

The old rule: You must present all sides of a story, being fair to each.
The new rule: Report the truth and debunk the lies.

The old rule: There must be a wall between advertising and editorial.
The new rule: Sell ads into ad space and report news in editorial space. And make sure to show the reader the difference.

The whole piece is well worth reading. And I’ve got a treatise on the last couplet that I’m contributing to Stuff Journalists Like this weekend.

Creative chaos, off the rails

Partly because of my company’s new lease on life, I’m in a creative mode for the first time in, well, too long. I was making my way to work this morning, amping with coffee and good tunes and was reminded of how much I love songs where a band — usually a band that is generally technically precise — goes off the rails into a cacophony that is both sloppy and skillful. The resulting sound is loose and fun, but also suggests that it is born from an attempt to go just beyond the range of their high level of skill.
Here’s two great examples:

Sometimes, creative success requires risk.

A keeper?

Not saying there’s causality here, but interesting data nonetheless: Keep Reading

Social media in-justice

From one of my attorney friends, posted from Facebook with the name changed to protect the honest:

“Chelsea” offers a secret to my FB friends. We look up your FB pages during jury selection. Just sayin… 2:58pmComment

Like all things, can be used for good or evil. I like.
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