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Archives: November 2006

Rich Media: ‘No Place’ in Magazines?

DMF.jpg
We were at the Digital Magazine Forum yesterday, which started two years ago as a place for people trying to put versions of their publications online to gather. Online versions are not websites, but rather the stuff you might see in a “reader” like Zinio or Nxtbook or Qiosk or Texterity or Olive or or or …

And because we were there — moderating a great panel with bloggers Peter Rojas and Om Malik, and Web editoriorial managers Tom Groppe of The Deal and Laura Rich, soon to be of Portfolio — we are catching up today, so we don’t have a lot of time to write.

A few things were revealed:

  • Om’s coming out with a new blog Friday that will be about TV, and another about games.
  • The Wall Street Journal is going to within a week or so launch a blog on work-life balance. And they just bought 10 new video cameras.
  • Time’s Peter Meirs is scary smart and gets to play with the coolest stuff in his job.
  • Cyndi Stivers is doing some sort of entrepreneurial venture. Stay tuned.
  • Bo Sacks is a funny guy, in addition to being smart about the magazine industry.
  • Adobe’s Bill McCoy defines a magazine as “editorial, branded, timely, collected, text-centric content.” And to an advertiser “a vehicle to reach a set of users who pay attention to a particular [content area].” Sounds to us like that could be a blog.
  • Users don’t want to use online readers, and the numbers of subscriptions for at least some of them are going down. People, in Meirs’ words, don’t want “digital facsimiles” of magazines — it is, he said, like trying to look at a magazine with a piece of reflective glass over it.

    Also, Dan Schwartz, our host and a man who’s accomplishments we were amazed to read — certificat from a Parisian institute, Columbia MBA, B.U. JD and a stint as in the Army — said that rich media has “no place” in magazines. OK, but, Dan, what about when someone writes a movie review? Wouldn’t a user like to see the clip in question? Or a critique of George Bush. How about some speech excerpts. And so on.

  • Video: Screw‘s Al Goldstein: ‘This Is What a Washed-Up Pornographer Looks Like’

    WARNING: The above video contains language that is extremely explicit and so not suitable for work (SNSFW)

    Last night in lower Manhattan, a sparse crowd of about 20 gathered in a corner of McNally Booksellers to hear a 70-year-old pornography legend, Al Goldstein, of Screw and Midnight Blue fame, read from his memoir, I, Al Goldstein: My Screwed Life. Except, Goldstein didn’t read anything. Bankrupt, drug-addled and certifiably insane, he embarked on a 22-minute, sometimes-coherent rant that was equal parts biographical, tragic, funny, scary, pathetic and beyond vile. In other words: Exactly what we expected.

    For those of you who’d rather not view the above video (see disclaimer) here are some of the things we learned:

    • Goldstein would like to meet a woman so he can perform oral sex on her. And take her to the movies.
    • Goldstein lives in a Howard Beach apartment paid for by Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller.
    • The Internet put Screw out of business.
    • Goldstein’s ghost-writer and documentarian, James Guardino, looks uncomfortable when Goldstein talks about … well … anything.

      Read more

    Pair Of Billionaires Trying To Buy NYT Co.?

    nytco_sale.jpgWhile investors have told him it would be next to impossible, Hank Greenberg and an unnamed investor appear to be buying up shares of the New York Times Co. with the goal of buying the entire company from the Sulzberger family. CNBC’s Power Lunch:

    SUE HERERA: CHARLIE GASPARINO JOINS US NOW WITH HIS STREET STORIES THAT HE’S HEARING ABOUT THE REPORT IN THE NEW YORK POST, CHARLIE, THAT HANK GREENBERG IS BUYING SHARES OF NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY. YOU THINK HE WANTS TO BE MORE THAN JUST AN INVESTOR HERE, RIGHT?

    CHARLIE GASPARINO: YEAH, I THINK THIS STORY GOES BEYOND HIM TRYING TO BE AN ACTIVIST SHAREHOLDER TO GET THE FAMILY TO PRODUCE MORE PROFITS FOR SHAREHOLDERS. FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND, HANK GREENBERG IS ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN TRYING TO BUY THE ENTIRE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY. THAT HE HAS APPROACHED INVESTMENT BANKERS AND ASKED THEM IF THEY WOULD WORK FOR HIM SO THEY COULD PUT TOGETHER SOME SORT OF A PLAN TO TAKE OVER THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY. NOW, INVESTMENT BANKERS HAVE TOLD HIM IT WOULD BE NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE. IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE, BECAUSE LET’S FACE IT, THE NEW YORK TIMES HAS TWO CLASSES OF STOCK, THE FAMILY CONTROLS THE VOTING STOCK WHICH MAKES IT DIFFICULT FOR HANK GREENBERG TO COME IN THERE OR ESSENTIALLY ANY INVESTOR TO COME IN THERE AND BUY THE COMPANY. BUT GREENBERG IS INTENT ON PUSHING THE ENVELOPE ON THIS.

    Why?

    Sources said Greenberg views the Times, which has a market cap of $3.3 billion, as a top-flight brand but one with an “artificially depressed” stock price.

  • HANK’S NEW LADY [NYP]
  • Bling Diamond: Russell Simmons Visits Botswana Diamond Mine

    Russell Simmons, hip-hop impresario, U.N. ambassador and diamond industry afficionado, is on a fact-finding mission in South Africa and Botswana, exploring “how the diamond industry, in conjunction with Simmons Jewelry Company, can empower the lives of African people and communities where diamonds are a natural resource.” The trip is being sponsored by the Diamond Information Center, which just happens to be the De Beers cartel’s U.S. marketing arm.

    So what has he found so far? An abundance of hardhats, apparently.

    EARLIER:

  • The Blingy Backlash Against Blood Diamond
  • Russell Simmons To Pull An Angelina Jolie
  • V Magazine’s Courtney Love Cover Includes Convenient Coke Mirror

    courtney_love_v_mirror.jpg

    Hard to tell, perhaps, from this scan, but the “V” is reflective — check it out on the newsstand

  • V
  • SPJ Winners’ Circle

    notablogger.jpgWe stand aghast. SPJ, once again, will honor “journalists” who represent the best of “journalism” with “journalistic integrity,” a practice that by definition completely ignores bloggers.

    Where’s the “Woke Up and Read the LAT Every Morning Better Than Anyone Else” award? Or the “Bloggers Who Put the Most Strain On Their Personal Relationships In Order To Get A 150-Word Scoop” recognition?

    Whatever. We’re so despondent we couldn’t even finish reading the nice bios of Larry Altman, Dave Bryan and George Skelton that SPJ put in its press release (Mogadishu? Try getting a table at The Grill with no reservation and a toddler on your hip, buddy). But if you feel like reading them, here they are:

    Read more

    Ave. A | Razorfish Move Into Google’s Old Offices

    Avenue A | Razorfish, the big interactive ad agency, is consolidating its three Manhattan offices and 300 employees, moving operations to Google’s old 80,000 square-foot space at 1440 Broadway. While perhaps not as sexy a move as, say, Hearst, it makes sense to be closer to its high-profile clients like CondeNet and Ralph Lauren.

    Most important question, though: How’s the cafeteria?

    EARLIER:

  • Cafeteria Wars: Google vs. Hearst
  • Radar Mimics Esquire Cover, Real Estate
  • Fast Company, Inc. To Move To 7 World Trade Center
  • Gawker’s New Home
  • One Director To Rule Them All!

    peterjackson.jpgPeter Jackson fans hope to get New Line Cinema by the balls. The studio “dumped” Jackson from The Hobbit, and Jackson struck back by posting a letter on fan site theonering.net and now New Line is hearing from the Lord of the Rings director’s legions of supporters, swarming the blogosphere like a million annoying Gollums.

    The NYT describes the Internet fury over Jackson’s dismissal as “a bombshell that went whizzing through cyberspace.” Never mind that bombshells don’t whiz, the problem we have with the story is that it takes seriously the fans’ assertions that if New Line doesn’t rehire Jackson these Middle Earth middlemen will boycott the film.

    First of all: No they won’t. What else are they going to do on a Friday night? Go out with a girl?

    Second: Why should New Line care? Cyber geeks are very, very loud. But they are rarely successful in making or breaking a film.

    Nancy Grace Hires Crisis Management | Stivers Out At Martha | Rachael Ray, ‘Thought Leader’ | Ex-Condé Nast CEO’s Restaurant Venture

    • Nancy Grace: Hired “below-the-radar corporate-image resuscitation” specialist after Duckett suicide. [NYO]
    • Cyndi Stivers: Out, quietly, at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. [Mediaweek]
    • ‘Civil War’ In Iraq: What took the media so long? [Newsweek]
    • NBC: Mulls restructuring in Burbank, too. [LAT]
    • Ex-Condé Nast CEO Steve Florio: Leaving vice chair post to open restaurant on Long Island. [NYP]
    • Rachael Ray: “Thought leader.” [Business 2.0]
    • Outspoken Media Exec: Joins VNU. [NYT]

    Dwell, Nylon Go Glam

    samir_glam_nylon.jpgEXCLUSIVE

    Had a lovely breakfast this morning with Glam.com founder Samir Arora — who warmly embraced Web guru Esther Dyson as she happened by (she and Arora go way back, and she helped him with Glam) — when he sprung a new idea on us and tipped us to some news.

    His fashion and women’s lifestyle network surpassed Style.com’s Web traffic long ago to take the lead, and this month Glam will hit 200 sites (including blogs, networks and magazine Web sites), including, any moment, content from Dwell and Nylon. (They’re supposed to send out a press release dated tomorrow.)

    He also sprung a new concept on us: the editor as “curator.” No longer, in the digital world at least, at the top of a food chain, deciding who covers what, but more like someone sitting in a maelstrom of news, information, entertainment, and more, picking and choosing — minute-by-minute, if necessary — what the audience sees, quickly changing and melding it as traffic rises or falls to any particular item.

    Glam’s already partnered with Marie Claire — Arora can’t say enough about new editor Joanna Coles — and Cosmopolitan, running exclusive blogs for them during Fashion Week. Glam’s got about 40 percent of its own content, and gets another 60 percent through its network. So Glam’s executive editor, Tracey Anderson, has plenty to curate.

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