Digital Publishing

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I saw Jonah Peretti speak at a social media conference a year ago and though I had heard of BuzzFeed was not aware it was his baby. He co-founded the Huff Post, by the way. Mr. Peretti is a didge native and gets the whole Poster Vs. Paster thing.  His content is king school is the approach I believe Yahoo and AOL need to jump their sites forward.  AOL bought some serious properties to make me think they were on the right path, but fumbled them and weren’t able to jump on the ball.   Yahoo didn’t even try, it seemed.

Mr. Peretti has two marvelous quotes in today’s New York Times – quotes that media properties in the digital world should heed:

“There is nothing more viral than news that no one else has.”  

And “News is the killer app and does not depend on search optimization.”

The common denominator here is news.  Not everything is news. That’s why there is SEO. But as we hunt and peck our way to site traffic gains, we need to think about news. And what is new. 

Today in marketing and advertising, 90% of everything is old. Perhaps served up with a new color, a new flavor, a new voice – but  old it is.  As Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg infuse our digital worlds with more and more marketing and crowd noise, as the buzz gets louder as something akin to a scene out of The Hunger Games, it would be smart for marketers to be chase new. Think new. And sell new. Peace.

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“I want my news and I want it in my eyes now!” is a riff on something my very young daughter said when sitting at a restaurant, being told by her grandmother her tuna fish sandwich was coming. No doubt, for the 4th time.

When I was a kid, radio was the only place to get news in real time and it required having a reported on site – so it wasn’t really real time. Thanks to Twitter and video and camera phones, the news today is available in real time. And though it may not always be well-packaged, presented or analyzed, it’s available as it happens.  The news biz is a changing thanks to the web and technolo-yee.  It is always on. And way exciting.

Howard Kurtz

Howard Kurtz is a well respected political news reporter based in Washington DC.  He’s the shizz. When interesting things happen, he finds them.  Or they find him.  Mr. Kurtz is leaving The Washington Post for The Daily Beast online. Why?  You’d have to ask him, but my take is for freedom, excitement, a little bit of sexy, and the unknown that is real time reporting. His business card certainly won’t have the cachet it once did, but history is his to make…and report.

The Daily Beast, and its probable new partner Newsweek, are growing up and growing down respectively. If the two merge is should be exciting to see the morph. Were I Tina Brown (the Beast’s co-founder), the person expected to helm the combined enterprise, I’d lose the entertainment, the food and other ancillary things and go news and politics.  It’s a herd of cats that can be better managed. And a beast it will be. Peace!

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Where’s the thought leadership in digital publishing? 

Magazines on iPads and other to be developed mobile devices are a nascent commercial endeavor.  At no time before have we had an opportunity to thread together storytelling with text, pictures, video, authorship and curation as have today.  If you think ad agencies haven’t figured out the silo-ization of marketing commerce, what about magazines and newspapers?

Once magazines were glossy and delivered weekly or monthly.  Newspapers were matted on inexpensive newsprint and more likely a daily, immediate vehicle. Today, digitally, they’re the same animal. And they publish and update with a simple click.   

When it comes to the information architecture, screen layout, art direction, usability, bounce-ability, brutally honest copy editing and the integration of advertising, who is leading the way?  To whom do we turn as we try to systematize the new digital publishing business?  Mssrs. McGraw and Hill?  Mr. Sulzburger? Ms. Huffington? Mr. Zuckerberg? Ms. Bartz? Mr. Droga? Mr. Arrington?

When hiring, one of my favorite interview questions is “Who are your heroes?” Well, it will be very interesting to watch the heroes emerge in digital publishing as we move toward a multidimensional platform.  Do you have any nominees? Peace.

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