How WWW Changed the World of Publishing

By Thomas R. Temin
Media and Government Consulting

After 30 years in business-to-business publishing, I decided to hang my shingle as a consultant. One reason resulted from a question I was asked at an industry conference. The organizers had convened a panel of magazine editors covering their industry — in this case, government programs and information technology. Someone asked, “What are the three biggest changes that have happened in your world of publishing?”

The answer was obvious: WWW.

The first time I saw the World Wide Web was on a Sun workstation in the Old Executive Office Building next to the White House. An appointee in President Clinton’s public affairs team was a really, really early adopter. One Saturday he was giving me a tour of the West Wing and we stopped in his office and he showed me how a browser works and loaded some web page from Japan. It’s hard to remember now, but people at first had to get used to the idea of the web and of graphical pages being served via the Internet.

My first magazine web site went up in early 1996. It was primitive. We had no way of knowing who was reading it, or if anyone was.

A dozen years later, I find my clients in the B2B publishing world still struggling with the right digital strategy.

They are struggling for a number of reasons. Chief among these:
  • Digital departments that are disconnected from the publishers responsible for the title.

  • Editors who confuse web technology with content development. Editors never operated printing presses, so why should they fiddle with web plumbing?

  • Editors who can’t grasp that they are in the daily journalism business now. Or that the ad inventory challenges are completely different from those in print.

  • Editors and publishers who can’t figure out how to tailor their online strategies to their particular markets. Often they fixate on a model because they like it in some other market, regardless of whether it works for them. Take a look at the Google and Yahoo home pages to get an idea of the range of possible home page approaches alone.

  • Sloppy resource allocation or a failure to take into account the real costs of producing web content.

  • Failure to recognize that what works now may need revision in six months, but there are no processes in place to provide sufficient flexibility.
I’ll discuss each of these in more detail in future postings.

Thomas R. Temin is a consultant with 30 years of publishing experience in media and information technology products and services. He is co-host of "The Federal Drive" with Tom Temin and Jane Norris, a weekday morning news and talk program on Federal News Radio AM 1050 in Washington D.C. You can see his weekly column on the op-ed page at

Labels: , , ,


Two Deadlines Near for International B2B Competitions

Think you're creative? You have two days to prove it by entering the TABPI Design Challenge, sponsored by Trade Association Business Publications International. The challenge is to design a cover for a hypothetical issue of an imaginary magazine, Concrete Times. The reward is $250 for the overall winner. The challenge is open to all B2B art directors and designers.

The TABPI Design challenge deadline is this Friday, Feb. 29.

Also looming is the deadline for TABPI's Tabbie Awards. This international awards competition is open to trade, association and business magazines published at least four times per year, completely or partially in English. Magazines must accept paid advertising. This year TABPI has added a new web category, Online Feature. (Online entries don't need an associated print publication, but they must be b2b-oriented and accept advertising.)

Entries for the Tabbies must be submitted by Wednesday, March 5.

Posted by Martha Spizziri, ASBPE Web Editor

Labels: , , , , , ,


Is the News Ever Finished?

By Tonie Auer
National Blog Chairwoman and DFW Chapter President

I read an interesting blog post on how the Internet and World Wide Web have impacted the way we cover the news. The idea is that a story is never done. It is ongoing because the Internet allows us to update news as it happens. There is never a finished product, put to bed like a magazine or newspaper. Instead, News is a Process.

I guess I can't really argue with that. While I consider myself to be hip to the trends in my industry, I think I have begrudgingly gone there as a journalist. On my own personal blog, I've broken news stories from tips I've had. I've updated information as it has become available. I've written breaking news stories for the online version of monthly B2B pubs I've written for.

As a consumer of news, I enjoy being able to go to Yahoo News or my local TV station to find out what is the latest on an event. It is instant gratification. In this world, we all want that. I don't want to wait until 5 p.m. to see what happened in a local trial. I want to know now and I can find out now via the Internet. It's great.

It is also an adjustment for journalists. Is a story ever done anymore? I guess it depends on your medium. The bright side, however, is that we can gain the respect and confidence of our readers by keeping our website up to date on the latest happenings in our industry. Fear of them not reading the print issue three weeks later is a valid fear, but if we keep consumers of our product informed and looking to us as the premier source for up-to-date industry information, then this might not be such a bad thing.

Labels: , , ,


You Are What the Web Says You Are: Writers and Social Media

By Joe Pulizzi
Founder and Chief Content Officer for Junta42

My expertise is in content marketing -- custom publishing to most of you reading here. When I was asked to submit a blog post, I started to think about all the things you may not know about the content marketing industry ... the opportunities for writers in the corporate world, the growth of the industry (now $56 billion and bigger than magazines), and that the stigma that used to surround writing for a corporate publication is now gone. Where it used to be looked down upon, writing for a company like Microsoft is regarded as a pretty cool thing in today's environment.

Learn more from Joe Pulizzi at our Nov. 17 webinar

Joe will share tips on how writers and editors can start their own media ventures at our webinar, A B2B Journalist's Guide to Creating the Next New-Media Resource. former PC World editor-in-chief (and ASBPE guest blogger) Harry McCracken will also be a presenter.
All those things are very important, especially to me, since I live and breathe this industry. But, even though all those opportunities are reality, there are some very important social media elements that I believe most writers are missing out on.

Let me explain. Starting back in 2000 when I was with Penton Media, and now with Junta42, I would continually get solicited by freelance writers, at least two to three per week. I don't mind at all. I need good writers all the time, and you never know when a business relationship makes sense, but I do have a litmus test. Here is what I do when I get an email from a writer looking for work.

1. First I check their website. If they have no website, that's a problem.

2. Then I check to see if they have a blog. A freelance writer without a blog makes no sense to me. It is the ultimate promotional tool for a qualified writer, yet I find that most writers don't have one. (For those without a lot of money to spend on a website, use the blog as your website. It costs nothing.) And yes, even those of you with steady gigs should have blogs.

3. Then I check their LinkedIn profile. How many contacts to they have? (Fifty should be a minimum.) This shows me that they really know how to network, which can help with sources for any story. In reality, 100 contacts is probably the minimum.

4. If they pass the first three tests, that's a great sign. For other references, I Google their name to see if anything interesting comes up. Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg profiles all help. Those tell me that this person has a clear understanding of the benefits of social media, and knows how to use it.

This whole process takes all of five minutes ... five minutes well spent. It helps me figure out who I should really talk to, whose work I should evaluate. Fewer than 5% of all the writers I come in contact with pass these four tests. Those are the ones I'm interested in working with. They understand networking, social media, the value of writing as a form of marketing, and that the way you get new business in the writing world has forever changed. You are what the web says you are -- and you have almost 100% control over that message. Very powerful.

There is an opportunity here for any writer to take the necessary steps toward a more successful future. Start now, while it still is an opportunity.

Joe Pulizzi is founder and chief content officer for Junta42, the leading media/bookmarking site for content marketing and custom publishing. Junta42 Match is the industry's only buyer/seller marketplace for custom publishing solutions. Contact Joe at joe[at]

Labels: , , , ,


What the publishers are saying

By Tonie Auer
ASBPE National Blog Chairwoman and DFW Chapter President

I've almost burned up all of my "glass if half-full" optimism as I've tried to deny that a recession is looming. I've pointed to all the positives and tried to downplay the negatives. But, I think I have to face facts: a recession is likely on the horizon.

The folks at Folio see it coming, too, and quizzed "publishers representing different aspects of the industry, including large and small, b-to-b and consumer, and city and regional" in an online article titled Publishers Prepare for Recession.

The good news is that the responses were overwhelmingly positive. Even with the downturn in the economy, the outlook wasn't dismal. Of course, these are the publishers that chose to respond. Odds are the magazines that will be hardest hit aren't going to shout that from the rooftops.

Are other publishers this optimistic? What about the grunts down in the trenches? So far, my work hasn't slowed down. Quite the opposite. I've gotten more jobs from different magazines than I have ever had. This might be indicative, though, that more magazines are cutting staff and looking to freelancers to offset those expenses.

How does everyone else feel about the industry in the coming year?

Labels: , ,


I'm voting for ...

By Tonie Auer
ASBPE National Blog Chairwoman and DFW Chapter President

In this heated election year when politics are on everyone's lips, Poynter brought up the valuable question of whether or not journalists should be allowed to speak up about which candidate they support.

Kelly McBride at Poynter Online addressed this topic with "Should Journalists Declare Party Allegiance" in a post about ethics and it is a fabulous topic with which we can all identify. I know you will all be shocked to hear that most journalists are very passionate about their beliefs. Yes, it is true.

While we endeavor to never slant our news coverage based on our own personal biases, I know I've read many "news" stories where I could read between the lines and tell you exactly that writer's political leanings. That isn't the majority of articles, though. Most writers can keep their feelings in check long enough to write the story - maybe while choking back the bile - and give equal coverage to all sides of an issue while allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions without a hint of what the writer thought about the whole situation.

Do, we, as journalists, have a right to our own opinions? Do we have a right to campaign however we would like? The answer is yes and no. We never want to give anyone a chance to point a finger and say "look, he is not going to cover the election fairly because he is wearing a candidate's button on his shirt!" Or driving with a candidate's bumper sticker on his car, or ... you get the picture.

How would it look to pull up to the polls on Election Day to talk to potential voters while you're wearing your candidate's button on your shirt? Whether you can write objectively or not, it is about appearances. We want, no we need, to both be neutral and appear neutral.

Does this mean that you can't man a phone bank for your candidate? I don't think so. I certainly see no problem in making phone calls and identifying yourself by first name only. A yard sign for your candidate is probably ok, too. I wouldn't put a bumper sticker on my car or sport a T-shirt for my candidate while on the job, though.

Whether we like or not, we are an extension of the publication for which we write or edit. To that end, we have to maintain neutrality in every possible way.

Labels: , , ,


Mental-Health Journalism Fellowships Available

Healthcare writers may want to apply for this:

The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism provides six one-year fellowships for journalists to study a selected mental-health topic or mental illnesses. Each journalist awarded will receive a $10,000 stipend. Applicants must have at least three years of professional experience in print or electronic journalism.

The fellowships are awarded through The Carter Center, whose goal in offering them is to increase accurate reporting on mental health issues, both among the recipients and, through their influence, among the journalism community at large.

For more information, contact Jane Bigham at or 404-420-3877.



Newsroom guidelines

By Tonie Auer
ASBPE National Blog Committee Chairwoman and DFW Chapter President

Editor and Publisher found a way to get its hands on Seven Guiding Principles for The Washington Times Newsroom developed by the paper's new executive editor, John Solomon. I think these are great tips for any newsroom and thought you might want to follow suit and adopt something similiar for your own news organization.

What better way to motivate and guide your staff than by giving them an outline of what you expect? While his guidelines are a big on the vague side as far as what he truly expects from each of his staffers, I like the overall feel of them. To give a brief glimpse, I've just listed the subjects: excellence, integrity, convergence, enterprise, innovation, collaboration and profitability.

The last one may be the most important in today's marketplace. If your publication isn't profitable, it doesn't matter how good the content is that you're producing. You have to find a way to make the product sale. As a young (I like to think I'm still young, but having been in the business for almost 17 years, so I don't think I qualify as young any more) idealistic reporter for a small daily, I was insulted with having to write advertorial copy. But, all these years later, I realize that we must all pull our weight without compromising our integrity. If that involves helping the newspaper make money, so be it. It also allows me to go after enterprising stories, too. The trick is to maintain the balance between letting advertising influence editorial. But I'm drifting off subject.

I like having goals and I like having something to shoot for. I applaud Solomon's guidelines and encourage editors everywhere to create something similiar for their newsrooms. You never know who you might inspire.

Labels: , , ,


Striking a Balance Between Print and Online

By Katy Tomasulo
ASBPE Washington, DC Chapter President

During Sunday's Super Bowl, domain registration Web site ran an advertisement that indicated, in a nutshell, that the ad they originally intended to run featuring Indy driver Danica Patrick was deemed "too hot for TV." It then directed viewers to head to to see the banished spot.

Whether the powers that be should or should not have let them air the original ad is of no concern to me (I didn't go check it out, so I have no idea whether or not it really was "too hot"). What got me thinking, though, was that the TV ad marketed no goods or services but instead encouraged the viewer to head to the Web. It could be the most effective Web driver ever—or the worst. Was it enticing enough to get people to the company's Web site? Or is forcing folks online to learn anything about you asking too much?

What's this got to do with B2B? Well, it reminded me of a discussion I'd had with some of my editors and publishers last week. We were trying to determine how to deal with three stories that were running longer than expected at the same time there was no flexibility in the magazine's overall page count. We had realized that the articles couldn't be any shorter if they were going to be of value. Plus, all three are recurring sections listed on the editorial calendar, so it is a situation we will face each issue.

Most of us thought the best decision would be to run full versions of two of the three articles in print and save the third for later or to run as a Web-exclusive. But someone argued for the idea of printing all three in much shorter formats and then offering the full version of each article online

Our immediate reaction was "no way." This tack would essentially cut the meat out of the articles, rendering them nearly incomplete and unable to stand on their own. The articles would become a bit of a tease—we essentially would be forcing our readers to go to the Web to get their full value. If they didn't go, they'd be missing out on important details. If they did go, would they do so with annoyance? Would their faith in the value of our print product be diminished?

While we have already implemented many Web drivers into the magazine—including teasers to extra, related content at the end of articles and a dedicated "what's online" box in the table of contents describing online exclusives—this step seemed one too far. Additional article content should be worthy enough to want people to head to the Web, but it should be just that—additional helpful things that are extensions or branches of the material that will enhance the story and help the reader even further. It should not be required reading that if unread would affect their ability to understand the topic first presented in print.

In navigating Web 2.0, one thing I've come to believe is that it's about balance. I think the right recipe is a little flavor of both, mixed together however appropriate. Above all, we need to ensure that what we're providing—in print or online—is achieving what we've always sought to do: to serve the readers and their industry the best ways possible. Print articles, additional Web content, and Web-exclusive features should co-exist, with each able to stand alone while enhancing the other two and building your overall brand.

Labels: ,


How edgy are your business cards?

By Tonie Auer
ASBPE Blog Committee Chairwoman and DFW Chapter President

Yoni Greenbaum at "editor on the verge" blogged about the concept of keeping in touch with sources and being accessible as a writer to the public. He has a twist on business cards that includes other ways to access the writer such as including your links to MySpace or FaceBook on your actual business card.

I don't know that I like that idea. Personally, on MySpace, I have pictures of me in a Dallas Cowboys jersey with a giant Tony Romo as my background. My Playlist includes Three Days Grace and Seether. I don't think this is really how I want to project myself professionally on my business card. I suppose others may have more professional MySpace pages and I could create one, but it seems like one more thing that I have to deal with and I'm not all about that. My email and my phone number seem enough to me.

Am I wrong or just outdated?
Tonie Auer is the president of the DFW Chapter of ASBPE and the national blog committee chairwoman.

Labels: ,