Being the kind of poker-arounder that I am (and a fan of FM’s tech portal), I discovered the FM Parenting Portal a couple of weeks back, and have become an enthusiastic subscriber to the site’s feed. (The site officially launched today.) It’s allowed me to discover some amazing writers I wasn’t aware of before. And, where parenting is concerned, I’m always looking for some humor and compassion. (Especially this week as I cope with Callum while my husband is away. I need all the humor I can get!)
It is killing me to not attend the BlogHer conference this week/weekend, especially when so many of FM’s authors will be in attendance. I’ve been reading along as so many of the women bloggers I read talked of packing, and of the excitement, and of their expectations of meeting like minds.
Alas, my 20th high school reunion is this weekend… in Texas. And two of my best friends from high school and college days — who weren’t particularly the organizer/joiner types back in the day — are putting on the party. Meanwhile, another good friend is flying in from Austria. How could I possibly stay home, not to mention deprive my aunt and uncle of the joys of babysitting my son while I attend the reunion festivities? Plus, I gotta show off the boy at the family portion of the reunion weekend (hubby is in NYC on business so he’ll miss it).
It’s terrible timing, but thankfully one of those things that only happens every 20 years. Next year, BlogHer. Count on it.
FYI, I’ve added a function (in the left hand sidebar) that lets you subscribe to receive posts via e-mail. And just for kicks, here it is again:
NYT published a piece yesterday (registration req) entitled “A Sideline that Competes with a Byline,” about journalists’ increasing urge toward entrepreneurship. In the case of the story’s main character, Nina Munk, she felt the journalists’ temprament (skeptical, self doubting) made her a poor entrepreneur. I’m not sure I agree with that entirely, which is probably a good thing given I’m going to work for a journalist/entrepreneur. But one of the reasons I like FM’s model is that it supports entrepreneurial-minded journalists/writers by allowing them to be independent while focusing on the writing thing.
After reading this blog post’s title again, I realize that Jay Rosen’s NewAssignment.net idea (funded by Craig Newmark) might come to mind. I haven’t had the chance to fully grok that idea, but what I do find appealing is the role of professional journalists. (And not just becuase I’ve been a professional journalist myself.) It’s because reporting (especially muckraking and digging through public records) can be a time-consuming slog, and because writing does take a certain talent. (Believe me, I have edited stories that would have you scratching your head with lack of comprehension.) And having the editorial judgment to even recognize news is an acquired skill. Compensating people for those abilities, and their time spent applying them, makes sense. (Yes, Jason Calacanis, you’ve got a point.)
Why? One of my earliest experiences in the Internet ad world was as intern/writer/ad sales person at @NY. I got the ad sales part of the job (and all the rest) courtesy of Tom Watson, who I’d met while finishing up my masters in journalism at Columbia. One of the more important things I learned (besides that I was not cut out for selling) was how difficult it was for agencies to buy ads across niche Web sites. No matter how engaged and influential their audiences, it was just plain logistically difficult to buy across all those sites. And that was 1998, before the explosion in blogs, and their accompanying engaged, influential (but niche) audiences. That’s one of the issues FM is looking to address.
Why else? I’ve spent the years since that experience thinking and writing about interactive advertising, watching the boom, the flameout and the subsequent rise. Joining FM is an opportunity for me to apply everything I’ve learned over the years about advertising and about managing writers. It’s also a great chance to work with brilliant, dedicated people who have a strong vision of the future of publishing. Needless to say I’m especially looking forward to getting to know the authors, many of whom I feel I know already through reading their compelling writing. I’m really eager to start helping them realize their dreams for their sites.
One of the things I had to really look at when considering this opportunity was whether I’d miss writing. I’ve helped with writing news and authored a bi-weekly column since 2001. I looked back recently over the archives of what I’ve written for ClickZ, and the sheer volume is amazing. Thankfully, FM, as you might expect, is supportive of my blogging, so I’ll have The River as an outlet for my musings. Not sure exactly how often I’ll be posting or what shape it’ll take, but give me time to get my feet wet and together we’ll see what emerges. (Feedback is always welcome, of course.)
I’m still at ClickZ for the next week. Then I’ll take a whole day (!) off to do yoga and nap (or something equally relaxing), and I start at FM on August 1. To all you FM authors out there, I look forward to working with you!
Since I’m telling everyone I’m blogging now (and leaving ClickZ), I had darned well better actually post something on this here blog. In the absence of any more spare time than usual, let me post some linkage and commentary.
- Media Orchard interviwed Drew Curtis of Fark.com. Some great quoteage (besides the great online ad stuff): “There probably is an opportunity to make Fark into something much bigger, but I’m fortunate in that I have had previous bad business experience. I did the empire-building thing once, it sucks. Money is not the end-all be-all goal of life. It’s about improving your life experience. I don’t mean this in a spiritual or whacko sense or anything. For example, we could probably go out and get venture capital no problem. For what? You don’t get to pocket that money. Furthermore, I’d have to start taking orders from people….I really don’t like having to explain my decisions to morons just because they’re shareholders. So the solution is not to have any. While Fark isn’t making anywhere near as much money as it could be, my life is awesome.”
- Here I just wrote a column that praised widgetiness, and now Tech Crunch is reporting that new MySpace functionality will disable widgets. There seems to be some dispute in the post’s comments as to whether this is work-around-able or due to a beta Flash 9 release.
- The four biggest broadcast networks experienced the lowest ratings week in recorded history a couple of weeks ago, according to the AP. “CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox averaged 20.8 million viewers during the average prime-time minute last week, according to Nielsen Media Research,” the story says. Traditionally, the July 4 week is pretty awful, ratings-wise, and the fact that many got off Monday and Tuesday is probably a factor. Still, this Internet thing. It is catching on. [via BoingBoing]
Happy weekend, folks.