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MPA Digital Awards: ‘F’ing Awesome!’

247_magazines.jpgFishbowlNY reports from the Digital Magazine Conference, “Magazines 24/7,” in New York:

Accepting Magazine Publishers of America digital award for best entertainment/celebrity website, managing editor Jay Woodruff wanted to prove he hadn’t had anything prepped. He had emailed his staff, he said, and gotten an answer from Jason Adams on what to say.

“‘I’m pleasantly surprised but not shocked,” Woodruff said, reading from Adams’ missive on a handheld device, “as this award shows you are f’ing awesome.”

The only thing more prevalent at the first-ever MPA digital awards [full list here and below] than the funky pseudo-pop played between announcements,was the number of runners up. Four, count ‘em, four tied for second place in the “Web Only Tool” category (kind of describes our personal lives, that one), and five for “Magazine Blog of the Year,” won by’s Gearlog.

More on the conference in a bit.

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Off the Media: Clever Headlines, Kate Coe and Giuliani

giuliani_to_run.jpgOK, we may be giving too much significance to just one segment on this week’s On the Media, but since it’s sister-blogger Kate Coe from our own FishbowlLA, we can’t help but crow. OTM’s Bob Garfield interviews Kate about her story for the L.A. Weekly on how little coverage a black-on-white Halloween crime received.

What also stood out this week was these wince-inducing headlines on the OTM Web site:

  • “Clink Stained Wretch” (on San Francisco reporter Josh Wolf’s imprisonment for refusing to turn over video he took of a demonstration).
  • “A Zion in the Sand” (on whether the pro-Israel lobby is really preventing honest debate on Israel).
  • “Murder Ink” (on LA Times crime reporter Jill Leovy‘s quest to cover the crimes in The Homicide Report).”
  • “Twist of Hate” (for Kate’s story).

Last week (which we haven’t covered, yet) there was a nice piece reminding us about how disliked Giuliani was before he became “America’s Mayor” on 9/11 (of which The Onion today names him president). A lot us remember when Rudy was not the beloved rock of 9/11, but rather an overly-controlling, press-loathing, distrustful, nightclub hating … Remember? Well, OTM notes that Mr. Presidential Candidate kid-from-Brooklyn might have to face some uncomfortable questions, again.

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‘Unruly Julie’ Wants a Job


Former marketing SVP Julie Roehm speaks to Media Village’s Jack Myers, as TV guru Shelly Palmer looks on

Julie Roehm might be the highest-profile marketing exec in America right now, after getting canned from Wal-Mart following just 10 months on the job. And since she’s on “14 minutes and 33 seconds” of her 15 minutes of fame, she’s talking to as many people as possible.

Speaking to a room full of sleet-laden media execs and entrepreneurs this morning at a non-descript room in midtown Manhattan, she was cagey about whether she’s looking for a job, but did tell moderator Jack Myers about a venture she’s trying that could, ultimately, undercut the “upfront” market. (For those of you not in TV, that’s when TV networks try to whip advertisers into a frenzy to spend lots of money to lock up air time before a season has even begun.) Roehm and a colleague came up with an idea to auction the time, instead, and with eBay, she says, is trying it with cable, spot and scatter (meaning ad space that’s not in the “upfront”). Today, it’s a fraction of the $9 billion market, but if it works, could be much higher. It’s based on a NASDAQ-like model, with the principles of “arbitrage, anonymity, flexibility and transparency,” she said.

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We Media 2007: What’s a Journalist, Again?


Lunchtime at We Media 2007

We’ve gone down to the We Media conference in Florida — not for the weather, but to see a bunch of New Yorkers we haven’t seen in New York recently. The AP’s Jim Kennedy stood up from the auditorium audience and asked folks talking on and with the first panel — about community, about how Big Media don’t get it, about who’s a journalist, anyway, what’s “citizen journalism” — and get on with deciding what we can actually DO about it all. “It’s late in the day,” he told us later. Amen.

One who does seem to be doing something is Lisa Stone, who proudly talked of how her BlogHer women’s network brings together women who are now not just media consumers, but also participants. And about a previous project she did in which lawyers blogged their cases, adding real knowledge to the world because journalists covering the stuff weren’t lawyers and don’t understand it as well.

We also ran into designer Roger Black, Reuters exec Chris Ahearn, New York-based vlogger “Happy Slip,” Lauren Cornell of NY arts org Rhizome, Jan Schafer of DC’s J-lab, Gloria Pan who’s still helping out the We Media folks (even though they’re no longer American Press Institute), Jody Brannon of MSN, Richard Prince of the WashPo and his own “Journal-isms” site on diversity, NPR’s Farai Chideya and a bunch of others.

[FULL DISCLOSURE: is a media sponsor of the conference.]

More photos:

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Off the Media: ‘Barely A Buttock Would Leave The Leather’

This week, we leave you with our favorite quotes from our favorite New York-based meta media NPR radio show:

Guest co-host Mike Pesca, in reference to the State of the Union address: “It seems to me to be an element of kabuki, or actually it’s a lot like the Roman Catholic mass — a lot of up-down, up-down. I think that if there were no cameras there, you know, barely a buttock would leave the leather.”

Emily Bazelon of Slate saying why she could go on an AIPAC-funded junket to Israel. Her answer’s logic sure confuses us: “There’s no way that this isn’t a problematic thing to do, which isn’t to say that we shouldn’t have done it. I mean, I don’t regret that I went. But I completely see the argument that it’s troubling and creates these ambiguities and creates questions about our objectivity in covering the region.”

WNBC Discovers Blogs

A funny thing happened at 30 Rock last night.

The Conan O’Brien studio audience seats were filled with about 130 bloggers as local news anchors, correspondents, the news director and other NBC brass stood on the show’s set and soaked up the bloggers’ wisdom and perspective, acknowledged ignorance about the most basic of Web concepts, and encouraged — no, entreated — the bloggers to send every little tip and scooplet and news break they had.

NBC feted the bloggers — everyone from former city parks commissioner Henry Stern and Wall Street Journal “Opinion” editor James Taranto to Red Gallery‘s Brian Van Nieuwenhoven and Sean Risley of My Body Story (who said he makes a living from his body art blog by getting speaking gigs and other assignments) — to a gnoshfest of pastries, sandwiches, cheese, nuts and soda (no liquor — FCC rules, they said), and seemed, in our estimation, surprisingly open to this whole Web 2.0 thing, while acknowledging that while they were the first in New York to reach out to bloggers like this, other cities such as Nashville and San Francisco have already done the same.

There was more than a whiff of skepticism. A lot of the bloggers scoffed at local TV news’ penchant for “if it bleeds it leads” stories about fires and muggings and robberies.

“How many people here have WNBC on your lists” when sending emails about scoops asked Sree Sreenivasan, newly minted tech guru for NBC’s local news shows after jumping from ABC. No one raised a hand. News director Dan Forman asked how many in the room wanted TV local news to go completely off the tube and for the company to spend all those millions putting it on the Web. About half the audience raised their hands. It would have been more, but a significant portion of the attendees were NBC people. Forman also acknowledged complete ignorance of what blogging software is, even as Six Apart founder Anil Dash sort of tried to explain.

Continued below: “MSM doesn’t mean metrosexual male.” Pictures, names, blog links and more quotes.

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Off the Media: High Def Porn, Low Def Journalists

[photo via Flickr]

On the Media this week acknowledged what the New York Times and Wall Street Journal subsequently got to: Pornography not only exists, but technologically sometimes leads the way. The Times tells us porn actually won’t lead the way in HD because the pictures are just a little too real. While the WSJ talks about porn as key in the standards battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Although OTM’s tech expert interview subject says porn might not play a big role, because they do less and less of their stuff on DVD, and more on cable, satellite, Internet and wireless.

OTM also this week also lets Dennis Kucinich‘s former media advisor Jeff Cohen tell us that the reason Kucinich isn’t taken as a serious candidate is because of arrogant, holier-than-thou reporters who know what’s best for voters better than voters do.

We could certainly argue a connection between the story — about mainstream news media’s arrogance and lack of touch with the real public — and another OTM’er this week on how bad a year ’06 was for newspapers, with declining circulation and no 20-somethings reading them. Our argument would also note that the supercilious, self-important nature of so many “journalists” — why the f*ck can’t we say “reporters” anymore? Because it doesn’t sound as “important?” — helps account for the popularity of The Daily Show and Colbert Report, which call out the bombast. Which reminds us:

Where was Colbert/O’Reilly on OTM?

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Off the Media: Liberal, Censor-Avoiding Apples

This week from On the Media we learned that:

  • Co-host Brooke Gladstone is willing to joke about her liberal self. In a story about how conservative bloggers (the “right-o-sphere”) are being skeptical of their skepticism of the mainstream media’s Iraq war coverage:
  • “Some conservative bloggers, mired in the ugly truth about the war in Iraq, are wondering whether they should have spent less time attacking the MSM and more time believing it. We thought we’d get into the argument, so we’ve enlisted prominent conservative blogger Ed Morrissey, AKA Captain Ed (pictured). We’ll take the position of — surprise, surprise — the liberal blogs.”

  • People in countries with less-than-free access to the Internet can get around the censor by getting a favored uncle or cousin or someone in a more free place to install Psiphon on their computer and let them in.
  • Apple’s new cell phone device thingy — there, that puts the iPhone in its place — was the big story of the week. And there weren’t enough skeptical stories. (We agree, but we’ll still gladly do some shameful and self-damaging act to get our hands one.)
  • New York Loves its Ad Pages

    … Which is why the city weekly just sent us a press release noting that they’re #5 in the U.S. for ad pages among magazines in 2006, “the title’s highest placement in 21 years and a move up from 6th place in 2005.”

    New York is the only magazine in the PIB top 10 to climb five positions in just two years,” the release crows. Here’s the full text:


  • New York Mag‘s Burton Jumps To Time As Mag Beefs Up P.R. Unit
  • New York Design Director Jumps To Pentagram, Will Redesign Time
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    Cathie Black Has An E-Crush

    Cathie Black, the president of Hearst Magazines, loves the way they get magazines done in places like London and Moscow and Sydney. There, they put out nice, glossy mags with good newsstand sales and a small staff, say 15-20 people, compared to about twice as many people for similar publications in the U.S.

    Black was speaking at a Magazine Publishers of America breakfast about how hard it is to get a magazine launched successfully in the U.S. because of all the expectations: a big public launch, lots of staff, “$5 million” overhead, a business plan for many months ahead. “We tried our darnedest” with two of the publications shut down in the past year — Shop Etc. and Weekend — “but they didn’t reach the hurdles we set for them.”

    Other notes:

  • Hearst will be launching a Dubai edition of Harper’s Bazaar in the next 60 days.
  • Staff turnover has gone down in the last three months at Hearst because of their fancy new building.
  • Her 18 magazine editors let out a “collective gasp” when told Web editors at Meredith didn’t report to the publications’ editors.
  • Their digital division has sold 1.6 million print subscriptions.
  • She hates the term “value added,” and thinks any salesperson who gives Web ads away to close a deal in print should be shot. (Well, she didn’t say “shot,” but that’s what we heard.)
  • Web profit margins should be 30-50 percent, much higher than in print.
  • Big directional decisions shouldn’t be made only by “five senior managers” in a room, but rather floated among the staff first.
  • If you are under 16 and looking for a date, you should go on, a site with 2.4 million registrants and one Hearst bought this week. Black didn’t say if the registrants were all teenagers.
  • “We are in the bumper car year.” We’re not sure what she meant.

    Here’s the full transcript:

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