Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

09/28/2013

Great Publishing: What Is Its True product?


And, have publishers lost sight of it?

Can Jeff Bezos, who just bought The Washington Post, eighty years owned by one of America’s great publishing dynasties: the Graham family, redefine the newspaper publishing business and reintroduce the true publishing product?

Given his success in redefining the book selling and publishing arena — I would lay odds on his success.

The Graham family ran the paper with dignity, grace and a commitment to public service — but, time had passed them by.

In the past newspaper world they always kept the business side of the biz separate from the editorial side; this served the industry well, insulating journalists from pressures that would undermine their objectivity — But, as financial pressures came to the fore and the cult of shareholder value took hold—a notion increasingly becoming known as the dumbest idea in the world—publishers lost sight of the true purpose of the industry—to inform, excite and inspire.

Also, in 1989 a lone revolutionary working at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland named Tim Berners-Lee wanted to free content from the confines of technology platforms. He built a World Wide Web on which access became universal and distribution free.

Key excerpt from tonight’s source article:

“For too long, media executives have gotten it backwards.  Great publishing comes not from marrying content with distribution.  It is the product itself that attracts distribution.  So enough talk about “eyeballs,” “native advertising” and all the other buzzwords.  To build a great business in media, or any other industry, you need to put the product first.”

So, how does all this tie together to give us publishing’s true product — mainly, content that attracts distribution?

Read this Forbes article by Greg Satell to find out:


How Publishers Lost Their Way

 

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08/05/2013

Amazon’s Bezos’ New Mission? Perhaps to Prove Print Isn’t a Dinosaur Headed for Extinction


Bezos interested in much more than just Amazon!

Most have heard by now that Amazon Head Honcho, Jeff Bezos, has bought The Washington Post newspaper for a cool $250 million smackaroos 🙂

I suspect that Mr. Bezos might have a nostalgic soft spot, as do I, for the dynamic, constant deadline publishing style of newspaper journalism; but, his interest in a print newspaper probably goes to a higher motive than just nostalgia.

He does want to become a big media player as evidenced by his current involvement in streaming movies available to its Prime members in an ongoing competition with Netflix — and Bezos’ Kindle has been delivering videos, music, news and books; a media-consuming tablet put in-place to push device sales.

BUT, can he save a print industry plagued by declining print advertising sales? OR is he going to redefine that revenue source with something entirely different (imagination needed here)? Remains to be seen.

Don’t forget, though, that Bezos is somewhat of an advertising guru himself — just look at the money he attracts with Amazon (which is detailed and tracked more by eMarketer in tonight’s feature news article drawn from USA Today).

He is also interested and has ambitions in many things outside of Amazon, retailing and books. Bezos is still heavily involved in his 2000 startup, Blue Origin, which intends to provide a human spaceflight company for space exploration — with a goal of developing space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for several million people orbiting the Earth.

High ambitions, indeed!

From Scott Martin, USA TODAY:

Amazon’s Bezos: Retail revolutionary, news tycoon?

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has done a number on brick-and-mortar retailers, defied Wall Street for years in eschewing profits for growth, taken on Apple in tablets and now holds a new title: newspaper owner.

Amazon’s CEO agreed to acquire The Washington Post for $250 million today.

The 49-year-old Bezos — who is famous for a honking laugh and gregarious nature — is No. 19 on Forbes‘ list of the world’s richest people, with a net worth of $25.2 billion. Bezos started Seattle-based Amazon in 1994 as a bookseller and rapidly expanded its categories and has swallowed many more.

Bezos is not the first billionaire to become a major media player. AOL founder Steve Case merged AOL with Time Warner. Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes picked upThe New Republic. And IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller bought Newsweek, which ceased printing last year. Given how troubling advertising has been to publishers, Bezos has his work cut out.

“The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs,” Bezos said in a letter to Washington Post staffers.

Bezos has already displayed a proclivity for endeavors far outside of the confines of e-commerce.

One of his interests is space exploration. He captured the public’s fascination with his startup Blue Origin, a “human spaceflight company,” with a goal of developing space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for 2 million to 3 million people orbiting the Earth.

Read complete USA Today article here

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12/03/2011

‘History on the Run’ – An Insight Into News Publishing from Nova Scotia


Graham Dennis - News Publisher in Nova Scotia

Apparently Graham Dennis, publisher of The Chronicle Herald and The Mail Star in Nova Scotia for the last 57 years, fought off the temptations to be like the Murdochs and the Maxwells of the world — brash, flamboyant, vain, complicated, and determined to build an empire.

This fact alone makes Mr. Dennis a hero in my book … And a true journalist, businessman and publisher focused on a mission to better the world through genuine reporting of world and local events.

Graham Dennis passed away last Thursday at the age of 83 … He outlived many icons and through much transformative history.

Here is a little of Mr Dennis’ unique history and an inspiring slice of publishing history:

As reported by Jim Meek for The Chronicle Herald

When Graham Dennis took over as publisher of The Chronicle Herald and The Mail Star, the type was hot, the war with the Soviets was cold, reporters were “ink-stained wretches,” and writers of letters to the editor signed off their fiery missives with pseudonyms.

The year was 1954. The New York Giants were World Series champions. Louis St. Laurent was prime minister. Dwight Eisenhower was president. Queen Elizabeth was two years into her reign. Conrad Black, future media baron, was still wearing short pants. Graham Dennis, destined to serve as this newspaper’s publisher for the next 57 years, was 26 years old.

Mr. Dennis, who died on Thursday, outlasted all of the above in one way or another — except the Queen, which would be just fine with him. Yes, Mr. Black is still around, but he’s been to prison and he can’t be described as a media mogul anymore.

I mention dear Conrad because he in many ways stands for the typical newspaper proprietor of his era. Black is like the Murdochs and the Maxwells of the world — brash, flamboyant, vain, complicated, and determined to build an empire.

Graham Dennis was cut from different cloth. He was modest, self-effacing, shy, polite to the point of courtliness, and focused on the single goal of running one smallish daily newspaper whose mission was to support progress in the place he loved — Nova Scotia.

Conrad Black was also like many of his Canadian contemporaries in another way — he was determined to buy The Chronicle Herald newspapers from Mr. Dennis. In fact, quite a crowd of media bosses has tried to unseat the Dennis family.

When I was The Chronicle Herald’s Ottawa correspondent, in the early 1980s, the guys who worked for the Thomson newspaper chain often bugged me about whether “Graham” might sell. The Thomson newspaper chain is no longer with us; the Dennis family still owns the Halifax newspapers.

In 1999, I was at a dinner in Toronto at which Peter White, an adviser to Conrad Black, pointedly sat beside me. I was vain enough to imagine that White wanted to experience the light elegance of my refined company. Within five minutes, his real mission was clear. He wanted to know if Mr. Dennis would speak to Conrad about selling the paper.

Read and learn more

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