Good people, doing something

You may have noticed an exchange between me a well-known
tech journalist last week.  He and
several other editors in his publication have taken extreme exception to the
philosophies, practices and predictions on this site, most specifically related
to New Tech Press.



I have a pretty thick skin.  The only people that actually get to me are those that I
respect.  So I want to go on record
as identifying that this journalist and ALL the journalists at this
organization are of the highest quality. 
They consistently win awards and deservedly so.  They do NOT deserve the treatment they
receive at the hands of the non-human financial demon we have all been enduring
since the turn of the century.  I
also want to go on record as saying the publications in their media house are
some of the finest in the world and should receive significant advertising
support from the industry so they could continue their tradition of great B2B
tech journalism,



In a perfect world, advertising revenues would continue to
climb and their newsrooms would swell to appropriate sizes to handle the level
of work they would need to put in to fill the pages of their publications and
websites.



The problem is, it just ain't gonna happen.



What I reported last week was not a bashing of the company
that owns the publication.  It was
simply an observation on news reported by another solid organization (Reuters)
that things were not going well for the company financially.  There are two reasons for this.  First, the credit market is in
shambles, which makes financing very difficult.  Second, and most important, is that advertising revenues
continue to decline.  The
publication went through several serious rounds of layoffs in the past year,
which saw many very fine journalists put out on the street.  This is a statement of our times, not a
value judgment.



We can continue to complain about the state of affairs and
how good it was 15 years ago, or we can do something about it.  As Edmund Burke once said "all
that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing."



So last year, we decided to do something.  It was new.  It was different. 
And it freaked a lot of people out.  Apparently, a lot of people are still freaked out. Are we
successful yet? Nope.  I'm not
making a ton of money on this effort but I am putting a lot of effort into it.
Why? Because we think the concept of objective journalism is important enough
to do whatever it takes to keep it alive. 
Even if it means making a significant investment, damaging our own
traditional business model, and taking shots from people we respect.



Funny thing is, the damn thing works.  It doesn't follow the same financial model
that everyone is used to, but the product looks, sounds and operates like real
journalism.  In the past few
months, we've covered only a few stories. 
In each case, the subject matter was something that was outright
rejected by the established tech press. 
After 40,000 page views and hundreds of click-throughs, apparently
someone was interested in reading or viewing the subject matter.  And that's the plan.  New Tech Press covers the stories the
traditional press has neither the time nor the inclination to cover.  We do it with experienced journalists. We
take great pains to make sure the coverage is balanced. And yes, companies directly
sponsor the subject matter, because no one wants to advertise in the sectors we
cover. And as they say, if it walks, talks and sounds like a duck…



This grand experiment has not been done in a clean
room.  We have been talking to
journalists, publishers, venture capitalists communications professionals and
tech marketing people for over a year. 
I've asked for input from lots of people and made adjustments as
necessary.  Most everyone was
skeptical at first, but just about all of them have come around to the opinion
that this silly thing just might work. 
In fact, the only ones who still don't like the idea have never accepted
any invitation to make input.  They
just make nasty, dismissive remarks.



I guess you just can't win them all.  I really hope I'm wrong. It would be
great to go back to the old ways. 
I know what I'm doing in that old paradigm and am pretty good at
it.  But I can't keep telling
start-up tech companies that they can get them significant press coverage
because their just isn't enough press for them to compete with established
companies.  They have to do
something truly earthshaking to get a traditional journalist to pay attention
and most tech advances are incremental.



My work now is helping technologists learn to communicate
with smaller audiences using available technology, and creating a new kind of
journalism that follows established ethical principals but still turns a
profit.



If that is a bad thing, let me know.  Always open to input.