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Posts Tagged ‘Simon Dumenco’

A Rodale Refugee Reunion; Christine Lahti Penning a Memoir?

1003_mockup.gifAs faithful readers of this column know, in the meta media universe that is Wednesdays at Michael’s, there is no end to the way fellow diners are connected. I was joined today by Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief and chief content officer of Reader’s Digest and the author of New York Times‘ best sellers The Digest Diet and The Digest Diet Cookbook. Minutes after Liz sat down, David Zinczenko arrived and the two Rodale refugees exchanged a big hug and chatted while I made the rounds in the dining room. When things settled down, Liz explained that both she and Dave got to know each other during “The Steve Murphy Era” at Rodale when she was Prevention‘s EIC.  ”It was Dave who paved the way for so many editors to write books – including me,” she added. During those halcyon days at Rodale, Liz penned Flat Belly Diet!, which sold a million copies, and the equally successful Flat Belly Diet! 400 Calorie Fix and became an in-demand health and fitness expert on television, securing a spot as a regular guest host on The Doctors and appearing regularly on Good Morning America, which she still does for Reader’s Digest. She’s even logged two seasons on The Biggest Loser.

Liz left Prevention to helm Every Day with Rachael Ray and, in 2011, landed her “dream job” at Reader’s Digest, which has even taken her to the Oval Office. In an interview she scored with President Barack Obama, he told her that his grandfather would have been proud to see him featured in the magazine’s pages since he tore out the jokes in his issues to save for his grandson. It’s easy to see why the stunning and energetic mother of twin eight-year-old daughters, Sophia and Olivia, finds the EIC job at the iconic publication (which as a 99 percent brand awareness rating among Americans) a perfect fit. Between bites of her kale chicken Caesar salad, she enthused about the “positive, life-affirming” stories that have been RD‘s signature throughout its long history. In fact, she told me that she had plans to bring more of that signature all-American optimism into the mix by ”returning [the brand] to its roots.” But make no mistake about it — while  features like its well-loved jokes, “Quotable Quotes” and “Word Power,” are an enduring part of the mix, this is not your grandmother’s Reader’s Digest.

Liz Vaccariello and Diane Clehane

I was fascinated to learn that the magazine was the first publication to be available on Kindle and one of the first to offer readers an app. In December of last year, digital sales overtook newsstand sales, and the magazine now has over 1.2 million Facebook fans. All this bodes very well for Liz’s plans to unveil both a print and digital redesign of the magazine next year where, she says, there will be even more opportunities for readers to share and engage with the magazine and with each other.

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Good Luck, Council On Ethical Blogging and Aggregation

Simon Dumenco, a Media Reporter for Ad Age, has come up with something called the Council on Ethical Blogging and Aggregation (CEBA). The group, according to David Carr in The New York Times, was founded in the hopes of developing a proper way for bloggers and aggregaters to credit others’ writing. Dumenco told Carr that bloggers should not see the group as the enemy:

‘This is not an anti-aggregation group, we are pro-aggregation,’ Mr. Dumenco told me. ‘We want some simple, common-sense rules. There should be some kind of variation of the Golden Rule here, which is that you should aggregate others as you would wish to be aggregated yourself.’

As aggregators ourselves, we completely agree that there should be some sort of standard. But there’s a couple problems with the CEBA. Maybe the most troubling thing is that for a group developing rules for bloggers, there aren’t many bloggers taking part. Here’s the rundown of who has signed up so far:

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HuffPo Faces Criticism After ‘Indefinitely’ Suspending Writer for Over-Aggregating a Post

Earlier today, we aggregated curated an Ad Age post by Simon Dumenco, where he described how Huffington Post’s aggregation of his article gave it only a meager bump in traffic, calling into question HuffPo’s rationale that aggregation drives major traffic to smaller sites. FishbowlNY itself noted that HuffPo’s aggregated version of Dumenco’s piece was around 250 words long — and the original article was about 676 words — so we weren’t surprised that HuffPo’s near full-on rewriting enticed only a few to check out the original piece.

HuffPo took notice. Poynter has posted an email to Dumenco from HuffPo Executive Business Editor Peter Goodman, in which Goodman apologizes for this “unacceptable” occurrence (great!) and adds that “the writer of the offending post has been suspended indefinitely” (what?!) The full email is below the jump.

This has struck some as an extreme, even aggravating reaction. For one, many who might want to speak publicly about their experiences with HuffPo may now prefer to hold back out of fear of getting a writer — who seems to have just been doing her  job — fired.  Choire Sicha writes at The Awl, “This is along the lines of arresting hookers instead of johns, or drug users instead of drug importers, or something.” He goes on to write:

The writer, who seems to be Yale class of (something fairly recent), Amy Lee, was doing pretty much what she’d been trained to do, either overtly or covertly, and she took the fall for the HuffPo, which is so obviously baloney… So the Huffington Post thinks it gets off clean from these entrenched practices by temporarily canning a smart young person who’s doing one of their terrible jobs as a way to get into writing and as a way to pay bills. It shouldn’t.

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HuffPo May Not Be Driving As Much Traffic By Aggregating Your Articles As You’d Like to Think

The Huffington Post defends its use of aggregation in part by claiming that it drives major traffic to the sites featuring the original stories, so it’s in a happy, symbiotic relationship with the media at large. But is this really true? At Ad Age, Simon Dumenco presents his personal case study on the dark arts of aggregation. He wrote a post last month titled “Poor Steve Jobs Had to Go Head to Head With Weinergate in the Twitter Buzzstakes. And the Weiner Is …” His post was picked up by Techmeme, a site that takes a sparse approach to amassing content from around the web (usually gives just a headline and a couple of sentences) and The Huffington Post, which gave a “short but thorough paraphrasing/rewriting” of the original post.

Did HuffPo cause a traffic explosion for his post? Not quite.

So what does Google Analytics for AdAge.com tell us? Techmeme drove 746 page views to our original item. HuffPo — which of course is vastly bigger than Techmeme — drove 57 page views.

57 page views hardly seems like enough traffic to keep writers from getting grumpy that their work is being aggregated. Moreover, the low traffic drive doesn’t seem particularly surprising. His original post is not very lengthy, coming in at around 676 words without the charts. The Huffington Post version is around 250 words, more than enough space to adequately cover all the major points. So what would be the purpose of clicking through to read the original piece? With Techmeme, however, if the article seems interesting, the user must click through to the original post.

We’d be interested to hear from other writers about traffic bumps from HuffPo to determine if Arianna Huffington‘s traffic defense is something of a myth.

We Still Love Simon Dumenco

250px-PalinInDover-cropped2.jpg
Media columnist for Advertising Age Simon Dumenco, who once won our affections by calling Huffington Post a “media plantation” penned a farcical satire of Sarah Palin and her future as a CNN star.

Dumenco writes:

WASILLA, ALASKA (Feb. 18, 2010) — Once again shocking the media establishment, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced that she was leaving her CNN talk show, “The Sarah Palin Power Hour,” after just four months on the air and well short of the terms of her two-year contract. In an echo of the manner in which she announced her resignation from political office last summer, Ms. Palin spoke to a small gathering of reporters at a hastily called press conference at a moose orphanage in Outer Wasilla, a suburb of Wasilla reachable only by dog sled. With her family at her side, she stated that, “I believe I can better progress the cause of broadcasting by working outside of broadcasting.”

Swoon.

Via Twitter

Previously on FBLA:

  • We Have a Little Crush on Simon Dumenco

  • Employed And Unemployed Alike Swap Swag At ASSME Bash

    assmepic.pngJust as we were about to leave ASSME’s Swag-a-Thon — a charity event/blowout hosted by the organization representing the “sh*tcanned media elite” — we heard the unmistakable voice of New York Times media columnist David Carr. There had been some confusion over whether Carr would come — something about being lost in a taxi — but clearly he had made it to Fontana’s safely. So, what did he think of the party?

    “I would say the people are sort of spicy and interesting,” Carr told FishbowlNY. “I don’t know if you noticed any jerks or a**holes in there? I just got here so maybe they’re lurking.”

    Jerks? Of course not! But we did see, as attendee Rex Sorgatz of Fimoculous.com put it, “70 percent of all the people I see at all the other media parties,” including Jeff Bercovici, Foster Kamer, Rachel Sklar, Brian Stelter, Megan Keane of TechSoup, and ASSME-ers (ASSME-ites?) Sheila McClear, Drew Grant and president Aaron Gell.

    Photo: (from left to right) Gell, Carr and Grant party on. Photo by Amy Mitten

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    Friday’s RTCA Dinner Wrap Up|Meredith Titles Show Ad Growth In July|Gawker’s Denton Says He’s Not Bored|NYT‘s Pogue Takes Heat For Speaker’s Fee|Dumenco Continues Anti-HuffPo Campaign

    FishbowlDC: Coverage of the Radio & Television Correspondent’s Association Dinner, including reviews of keynote speaker John Hodgman.

    minOnline: Four of the top five magazines showing ad sales growth in July are Meredith titles: Fitness, Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal and More. Flex rounded out the top five.

    Washington Post: Howard Kurtz interviews Gawker‘s Nick Denton. “We don’t seek to do good,” Denton said. “We may inadvertently do good. We may inadvertently commit journalism. That is not the institutional intention.” Also, is he truly bored? Said Denton via Twitter: “No, just British. It’s an affect — and we’re born with it.”

    NYTPicker: After all the Thomas Friedman dust-up you think he would have known better. New York Times columnist David Pogue is getting flack for receiving a speaker’s fee for speaking at the Consumer Electronics Association’s CEO Summit last week.

    AdAge: Simon Dumenco has an idea for a college course inspired by The Huffington Post: “Building Value by Devaluing Content: How to Make Your Investors Rich By Being Cheap, Trashy and Parasitic.”

    WaPo.com’s Roberts Leaves For Beliefnet|La Russa Sues Twitter|Allure Launches E-commerce Site|Media Critics Dumenco And Carr Chat|SNAP Gets A New Name

    FishbowlDC: WaPo.com’s managing editor Ju-Don Roberts has resigned to head up News Corp.‘s Beliefnet.com.

    WebNewser: St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa sued Twitter.

    minonline: Allure has launched Allure Virtual Store in the hopes of adding e-commerce revenues to online ad dollars.

    AdAge: Simon Dumenco interviewed New York Times columnist David Carr about his memoir, “The Night of the Gun.”

    Folio: The Society of National Association Publications (SNAP) has a new name: Association Media and Publishing.

    A New Award On The Block

    sidney.pngAdvertising Age‘s Simon Dumenco expressed his distaste for the Mirror Awards and Arianna Huffington earlier this week, but we think he would have a hard time finding fault in this new journalism award.

    Starting in July, the Sidney Hillman Foundation will present “The Sidney,” an award honoring socially-conscious journalism, every month. The winner, which can be a magazine, newspaper, Web site, photo essay or any broadcast outlet, will win $500 and “a bottle of union-made wine,” the foundation said. Nominations can be submitted through the foundation’s Web site.

    Meanwhile, the debate about Huffington’s legitimacy as the recipient of this year’s Fred Dressler Lifetime Achievement Award at the Mirror Awards luncheon next week continues. Yesterday, Richard Prince interviewed Lorraine Branham, dean of the Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, which presents the Mirror Awards, who stood by the school’s decision to honor Huffington.

    “I spent 25 years in the newspaper business and I certainly believe journalists should be paid for their work,” Branham said, according to Prince’s online column Journal-isms. “But I am also a realist who can plainly see what is happening to the profession I know and love. It has changed and will continue to do so, and at a frightening pace…The old revenue model is in shambles and I don’t think we can lay the blame for this at the doorstep of the Huffington Post.”

    Simon Dumenco Takes on Huffpo…Again

    pshaw22.pngAd Age media columnist, Simon Dumenco pulls no punches when it comes to Huffpo. He once called the site a ‘media plantation.’ A line we quote at cocktail parties all the time…unless they’re thrown at Arianna’s house. Ahem.

    Dumenco’s latest takes exception to Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications given Arianna Huffington the Fred Dressler Lifetime Achievement Award:

    Funny how the fact that The Huffington Post fails to pay most of its bloggers didn’t come up when Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham gushed about the blog mistress in a prepared statement: “Arianna Huffington was ahead of the curve with HuffPo. She embraced the use of new media but never forgot that no matter where or how you tell the story, content is still king. This is what we teach our students.”

    Oh, give me a break! Content, in Arianna’s world, is not king, and it never was. Link bait is king; opportunism is king.

    Yep, and the phrases “Britney Spears Naked” and “John and Kate Plus 8 Break Up” and “Adam Lambert” are going to get this message out there.

    Previously on FBLA: We Have a Little Crush on Simon Dumenco

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