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Noah Davis

Battle Of The Blogs: To Comment Or Not To Comment?

opinion.jpgAnother day, another debate at MB HQ. This time, we’re talking about comments. Specifically, should we have comments on our vast — and brilliant — network of blogs? We already have the bulletin boards to discuss any and all things media, but should we open blog posts up to individual comments? What do you think? Let us know here (on the bulletin boards, ironically enough). We can’t wait to hear from you.

Get Your Video Pitch Slam On

tony_pitchslam.jpgCan you feel the excitement in the air? Is it the Yankees making a run on the Sox? (Nope, not gonna happen.) The coming of fall? (Nada. We’ve still got August to suffer through.) Tonight’s season premiere of The Hills? (Um, we’re pretty freakin’ excited, but it’s not that either.) No, it’s time for another Video Pitch Slam 1-on-1.
On August 23, we’re headed to TimeOut New York‘s beautiful office on 36th and Tenth Ave for a rendezvous with editor-in-chief Brian Farnham. But we can’t do it without you. If you’ve got a great idea for TONY (and, seriously, who doesn’t?) drop us a line. If we pick your pitch and you’re available that afternoon, you’ll get three minutes to sell your story to BF. (Despite what Gawker says, it’s fun and a great way to get face time in front of an editor. We promise. Those kids on Crosby are just jealous we bathe in Cristal.)
RELATED:
Video Pitch Slam 1-on-1: Esquire

Gettin’ Ahead By Faking It

anonymous.jpgSo Fake Steve Jobs has been unmasked, and the techno-dorks (and yours truly) are pissed. Now that Fake Steve has a face (Forbes senior editor Daniel Lyons), he’s no longer as fun. Lyons will continue to write the blog — moving it to Forbes.com — but the mystique is gone.
But there’s another lesson in the experiment. In a world where anonymity is increasingly difficult to achieve, fake blog personas are the new black. Before FSJ, there was Tony Homo. Sure, the name is wildly un-PC (as is the spin-off here“), but the blogger leveraged his “fame” into some excellent PR for his “real” blog, Straight Cash Homey.
Journalists spend so much time worrying about making a name for themselves, but maybe we’ve been looking in the wrong place this whole time. Maybe the best way to get famous is to leave your nom de plume behind. I doubt Valentine and Olga Rei would disagree.

A Helpin’ Hand: ReleaseMe

press_release_me11.jpgYou may have noticed callouts on the mediabistro.com homepage to our press release blog, Release Me. With all the media-related releases we get (and we’re sure you do as well), we thought a clearinghouse was in order. Right now, we post the releases, but we hope PR people will put up their own. If we do this right, it will be a great resource for all things media-related. Our question to you: How to make this happen? Would you post releases if the form was simple, like Revolving Door?
Hit up the forum to weigh in. We’d love to hear your opinions.

Best Of The Rest: The Father of Baseball: The Life Of Henry Chadwick

chadwick.jpgIt’s not everyday you learn about a pivotal American historical figure who was previously unknown. But on Thursday morning, when an email from author Andrew Schiff turned up in my inbox, I knew I had to learn more.
Schiff alerted me to his soon-to-be-release biography about Henry Chadwick. Who is Chadwick, you ask? Only the man who invented sports journalism, was the originator of baseball stats, and chairman of the rules committee. How could my education, both as a Red Sox fan and a journalist, be complete without having ever heard of Chadwick? Was this the sort of thing I missed by skipping j-school?
Thankfully, Schiff wrote the book (The Father of Baseball: The Life of Henry Chadwick, hitting shelves October 26), and I can just read it. The author tracked Chadwick’s life by contacting the New York Public Library, the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Society for American Baseball Research, the University of London, and countless other sources.
We constantly hear journalists complain about struggling to find stories (I know I did), but Schiff turned his fascination with a name he first heard when he was eighteen years old into an excellent book. If there’s a better way to find source material, I’m not sure what it is.

Posh Spice Pushes Back

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During one scene of Coming to America, the reality TV show starring Victoria Beckham, the former Spice Girl sees an unflattering portrait of herself on Perez Hilton. Instead of sitting around whining about it, she gets in her car (hair stylist in tow) and confronts the blogger at his coffeshop/office. She and Hilton get along famously, and Beckham leaves when the blogging star replaces the offending picture with one in which she’s wearing a crown.
This is the kind of take-charge attitude that mediabistro.com CEO Laurel Touby and hundreds of other executives and managers around the country would love. Beckham doesn’t attack Hilton, she simply asks him why he posted what he did. She’s respectful yet forceful, reasonable yet in charge, and Hilton responds. Her behaviour (spelling in her honour) provides an excellent lesson when dealing with editors. If you feel slighted, confront him or her and explain your feelings honestly and plainly. They will respond accordingly, and you’ll stand a greater chance of working with them in the future. We all make mistakes (yes, even us infallible editors), but bitching and moaning about them helps no one. Explain your position and act accordingly. If this tactic swayed the Queen of All Media, it will work for you too.

Live Earth

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In the end, Live Earth probably won’t save the world. But don’t say the media didn’t try to help. Just look at all the coverage we gave the shows before they even happened.
During the event, we had 24 hours of live HD video, courtesy of Intelsat. And then there was all our reaction. The media covered every angle, from the concerts themselves to the show’s impact to the number of streaming vids (more streams than Live 8).
Maybe it’s just me, but after a summer spent focusing on Paris and Rupert, Al Gore is a refreshing break. Now there’s a sentence I never though I’d write.

Vegas Baby!

beneath the neon.jpgWe’ve all heard rumors of Vegas’ criminal underbelly, but what actually lies below the glitz and glam of the strip? In the summer of 2002, after a murderer used the tunnels under the city that Bugsy built to escape from the police, Matt O’Brien, managing editor at CityLife in Las Vegas, and his freelance writer friend Josh Ellis decided to find out. They explored half a dozen tunnels — discovering “a bowling ball, casino chips, mural art, people, and myth” — and penned a two-part series for CityLife.
O’Brien wasn’t done. “We figured there was a lot more down there,” he says. “Initially, we were going to co-write the book. But Josh was moving to San Francisco and we had slightly different visions.” So, after Huntington Press bought the idea, O’Brien took a sabbatical from CityLife and spent the summer of ’04 exploring the tunnels. The resulting work, Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas vividly details the lives of the homeless population that live in the tunnels. Through his exquisite reporting, O’Brien paints a starkly different portrait of the city then the one you get while playing the $25 table at the Bellagio.

Best Of The Boards: National Rate For Web Copy?

technic_3_by_candy.jpgEven the savviest media industry vet has a question every now and then. Here at mb HQ, we have most of the answers, but not all of them. Luckily, for those queries that fall through the cracks, there’s always the mb Bulletin Boards. Today we head over and catch up on the hot topics.
MCM asks: I want to begin offering web copy services to companies throughout the United States. Just basic copy what companies need on their site, like an introduction, about us, services, clients, portfolio, etc.
MDiskin offers some help: Usually I offer a per-job rate, but list how many hours I expect the job to take, how many revisions are allowed, etc. Crucial: I add a statement saying that if the job exceeds these hours, then additional hours will be billed at X rate. This ensures that I won’t be caught up in endless revisions without being paid for them.

  • National Rate For Web Copy?
  • Highlighting The How To Pitches

    chewbacca-pitching.jpgI spend a lot of time working on our How To Pitch section. Not to brag, but I’m probably the world’s foremost expert on them. If there was a How To Pitch-related disaster, the CDC would almost certainly call me.
    Still, as with any series of articles, some How To Pitches are better than others. So, without further ado, here are my top seven favorite HTPs, in no particular order:

  • How To Pitch: Best Life — Good memories from our first Video Pitch Slam. Also, EIC Stephen Perrine is a helluva nice guy.
  • How To Pitch: City — Managing editor Alex Garinger provided so much information about what to pitch, I feel like the article is almost written for you.
  • How To Pitch: Diverse — Of all the How To Pitches, this one was the most helpful to me when I was freelancing.
  • How To Pitch: Draft — Wait, there’s a magazine that’s going to pay me to write about beer?!?!?
  • How To Pitch: mental_floss — I have a soft spot for mental_floss because my dad once wrote an article for them. Also, I always feel like Mensa material after reading it.
  • How To Pitch: Paper — The thought of interviewing Mr. Mickey for this article makes me laugh every time.
  • How To Pitch: Penthouse — The first How To Pitch I wrote. Awwww.
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