It Starts

    The past couple of posts I've thrown out a few "what-ifs" regarding how we place a value on information and whether competing on control of the information is a productive effort
    Of course I was setting everything up for this post, which is something I've been hinting at for months as we've negotiated and discussed a bunch of stuff.  We're ready to let the cat out of the bag officially.  Starting this week Footwasher Media has begun a collaborative program working with Hearst Electronics Group on a “Collaborative Journalism”program with Premier Farnell as the sponsor.  We will develop and share original content developed by Hearst's electronic industry publications, Footwasher Media's, and Premier Farnell's element14 website.  It is not a PR program.  It is not a marketing program.  We don't push products or services and we don't represent anyone. It's real journalism for technology audiences, with substantial content.
    The Collaborative Journalism approach, developed by Footwasher Media, combines the best practices of journalism ethics and social media engagement, developing content internally and in partnership with established, respected freelance journalists within the electronics world.  The content is published by the participants, often simultaneously.  The result is a collaborative process between vendors and the media  carrying the content, driving engagement with multiple audiences on a high degree of trust.
    Footwasher Media is creating new content that can be published in part or in whole by Hearst, at its discretion, across its various publication vehicles at no cost to the Hearst organization.
    Premier Farnell, as the primary sponsor of the effort, gets a seat at the editorial table and can offer its own original content, subject to discussion and review of the media prtners.  All content published under the program will adhere to a Statement of Ethics, following the guidelines of the Society of Professional Journalists and an Collaboration Bill of Rights.  In exchange for this content, Hearst will acknowledge Footwasher Media as the source of all content they provide.
    We will cover broad portfolio of subject matter to cover, ranging from design services and tools, and components and systems, to engineering legislation and alternative energy leveraging element14's extensive reach into multiple subject areas.
    Hearst is the first media participant in the program and has been extremely helpful in building the concept over the past year.  Bill Barron, vice president and publishing director at Hearst Electronics Group, has been particularly supportive.  The only thing he doesn't like is that he knows it isn't an exclusive arrangement.  We are already in talks with other media centers to share appropriate content.  But he is the first and I am extremely grateful for the participation.
    Now let me be very specific here.  Premier Farnell get no special consideration in this arrangement.  They are financially supporting the effort with an eye to increasing their influence in their target market, which is the same reason any company makes an advertising buy.  They have just realized that simply buying advertising along side of all their competitors isn't enough.  They need to build trust and they need to provide a differentiator.  So they are willing to give away information to anyone who wants it and support the creation of good content.
    At the same time, we all recognize that getting everyone to change their paradigm to openness and collaboration without boundaries is a fool's errand.  Someone has to take the first step.  And we are taking it.
    Are we crazy?  Probably.  But we've been quietly posting new content for the past week, and the response with absolutely no promotion has been outstanding and far exceeding expectations.  It works.