Sunday, May 13, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Mr. Magazine, Time Inc, MPA, Editorial Integrity, and More

BoSacks Speaks Out: Mia Culpa

Friends, I have received dozens of letters and even a few phone calls from long time readers asking me about my missing vents, prognostications, and poignant punditry.

What happened to the irregularly regular BoSacks Speaks Out?

I have plenty of excuses but none of them really work.

I think the true line in the sand for me was drawn with my entry into political life. When I got elected as a town councilman, I had no idea how all consuming it could become. The previous roll models that went before me spent little or no time between meetings, preparing and working for the future of the town. So I figured I could do nothing a whole lot better than those guys, who are doing nothing.

But actually, I have taken a decidedly different approach. If you will allow me the bravado, I have taken a typical Bo-Approach to governance, and that would include speaking out, and working very hard on many town issues. Duh! What a surprise?

So how much speaking out, and in how many venues can one man achieve? I don't really know. But I have seen less speaking out in my newsletter and more speaking out in my town.

All that being said, I will do my best to return to the forefront of media venting, wherever it seems necessary, pontificating whenever possible, and prognosticating as the future unveils it's unexpected twists and turns.

PS: As an FYI - -I have completely reorganized my web site. It now has a wealth of new information and is updated daily with news items that are very important but just didn't make the cut for the daily newsletter. It also has the often asked for archive of old articles and Bo- Rants. It has updated information on everything we do for a living, and some things we don't do, including dozens of excellent media/publishing links. It is still a work in progress and I hope you enjoy it.

I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
Charles De Gaulle (1890 - 1970)

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On the MPA, Editors, Integrity, Time Inc, Circ, Ads and More m

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: GM Wants More Newspaper Advertorials
. . . my company doesn't do advertorial. Ever. I throw a screaming fit at any (potential) advertiser that even suggests it. In fact, I've been known to pillory books put out by our largest advertisers (when they deserve it.) Our readers trust us for it. Readers come first.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: GM Wants More Newspaper Advertorials
hey, didn't that pcworld editor get canned for not running favorable articles? an advertorial is where you bribe the sales staff with money and free content. A p.r. placement is where you bribe them with lunch. :)
(Submitted by an Industry Consultant)

Re: If They Write It, Will They Come?
"Gannett has done more than any other newspaper company to incorporate user-generated content in its Web sites," he said, and I'm sure he's right. They're also doing it in the daily printed paper: "Hey, write to us about your experience of the Easter egg hunt." [If we can't afford journalists, we'll get the public to do the work for nothing.] And a self-respecting fish wouldn't want to be wrapped in the once world-famous Des Moines Register.
(Submitted by Writer)

Re: If They Write It, Will They Come?
You need people who can tell stories well and who understand enough about what they cover to see and convey what is most touching and interesting. Saying "give me user-generated, high-quality content" is all well and good, but just how many editors do you have to sift through all the crap that will come in? Hell, they spend tons of time sifting through what staff and freelance writers generate. This is abdication in the name of relevance that is actually an admission of incapability. People like this don't know what to do, so they come up with something that sounds good. So follow the model and you're still screwed, because you're working on the assumption that the essence of what you've done and chosen to do is right, even if the mechanism is wrong. If readers are the ones to tell the stories, then what are the papers there for? No wonder circulation is down.
(Submitted by a Writer)

Re: Editor re-instated after dispute with PC World
As one of the angry protesters in writing to PC World hoping they would realized that in sacrificing the integrity of their editor they were sacrificing the integrity of their brand and there are few faster paths to destruction I think McCracken's return is a cause to cheer for all of us who believe journalism is first about integrity. Let this lesson be both to Editors, for gods' sake have the courage to stand up for what you know is right, and for Ad executives (or Conde Nast Webisode producers) to realize that if we sell away the integrity of journalism our industry will be forever damaged . . . . and become TV.
(Submitted by a Senior Director)

Re: Editor re-instated after dispute with PC World
Wow! Integrity wins! And the supreme judge in this case was at the top of the company food chain! There IS practical value to virtue. Always has been.
(Submitted by a Senior Sales Rep - Retired)

Re: Editor re-instated after dispute with PC World
Bo, you are wrong about this one. Integrity has nothing to do with it. All this is a reaction to a strong readership out cry.
It still boils down to chasing the almighty dollar and nothing to do with management making the correct decision with any integrity.
(Submitted by a Senior editor)

Re: Editor re-instated after dispute with PC World
Great - the guy who saw the future and said that it's pandering to the advertisers is again the one in charge of online. Now wasn't it an IDG executive who noted a month or two ago that online was their future? In the long run, I'm not sure that this sounds like integrity winning over sales. It's more a case of, "Oh, how embarrassing, and in public no less."
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Mfg and Dst)

Re: Editor re-instated after dispute with PC World
Integrity is for underpaid suckers . . . and the world is filled with them.
(Submitted by a Sales Rep)

Re: NEWS FLASH * * * Elimination of Publishers Periodical Rates for Foreign Subscribers
it can't be the stupidest thing. claiming to not be a government agency while operating like one is dumber yet! Zinio and adobe must be behind this particular change :)
(Submitted by an Industry Consultant)

Re: NEWS FLASH * * * Elimination of Publishers Periodical Rates for Foreign Subscribers.
Unfortunately this is not new news but seems to have been over looked by many. Many printers will not offer ISAL, so re-mailers or first class international may be the only options. The postal service is also eliminating air and surface letter post.

You cannot mail Periodicals foreign and Canadian mail after 12:01 AM May 14.
You must make other arrangements for this mail.
(Submitted by a Postal Director)

Re: Newsweek Editor: 'Dead Tree' Magazines Will Continue
Bob: As a former Newsweeker, I feel Meacham is correct; there will always be a future and a place for good, timely, relevant writing. Newsweeklies have the advantage of pictures and graphics to support their editorial, but the writer still needs to follow the NPR maxim: 'Can you see what I'm saying?'

4,000 words is about 3,700 more than I care to read from a computer screen. There are some ideas that cannot be sufficiently concentrated and packaged onto one page. The answer is simple. Print the article and read it at your leisure. I guess that is why people continue to buy print.
(Submitted by a Print Salesperson)

RE: Newsweek Editor: 'Dead Tree' Magazines Will Continue
Prediction 1: "Green" magazines and catalogs will not be printed on recycled, de-inked, or FSC certified paper. They just won't be printed at all.

Prediction 2: Before the end of 2007, the "disposable celebrity" bubble is going to burst. This category is soley responsible for the strength of the newsstand performance. I spend about $50 on the newsstand every month, and before I discovered the guilty pleasure of various "celebretard" websites, there was always a representative mix of this category in my briefcase. I haven't purchased one issue of a Bauer weekly in months. I'm actually spending more on magazines than before, but my purchases are in completely different categories.

I work with the paper industry and have (for the past 10 years) been trying to help my clients find ways to make print relevant. I NEED your service. You do a fantastic job.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: Why "Mr. Magazine" canceled his Newsweek subscription
I never thought I'd say this (I haven't always been a fan of Mr. Magazine) but this article is right on. In my market, at least, there are NO online competitors that actually make money. (The largest websites in our market are strictly not-for-profit and carry no advertising whatsoever.) Our readers are our customers, not our advertisers. We should do what our readers want, and the advertisers will follow.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Why "Mr. Magazine" canceled his Newsweek subscription
It's the number one reason our industry is in freefall. ALL our problems -- lack of interest in our products, newsstand sellthrough decline, phantom circulation (or just plain circ fraud) which leads to lack of trust by advertisers in our product -- all of these stem from one primary failure:
not serving our readers first.
I've been in this industry for over a decade, and it still amazes me to see how people in this business abuse their customers. None of my titles exceeds 25% advertising (I sell out an issue and say "try next time" if we are about to exceed 25%) . We screen our advertisers heavily (for example requiring written references for personal/professional services like psychic readers -- common in our market.) We mail in envelopes to protect reader privacy. We never, ever sell or rent our list. And our readers have responded by incredible loyalty and support. People will respect you if you respect them.

More and more, I see "industry experts" in Folio and elsewhere recommending the policies we have thought were purely common decency (as above) and have followed for years. Hopefully, it's not too late to save our industry. Thanks for a wealth of great information,
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Why "Mr. Magazine" canceled his Newsweek subscription
As a former client, I can vouch for the fact that Samir is really the most knowledgeable magazine guy in the world!!!!!!
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Why "Mr. Magazine" canceled his Newsweek subscription
Bo, I think you and Samir are the two brightest light bulbs in the industry. I've had many a conversation with fellow publishers about you. We all agree, that you bring needed fresh air into some very stagnant smoke filled rooms. The MPA, ABC, BPA and all the others, need your criticisms and your approach to our problems. Please keep up the good work and the continued pressure you apply by speaking out.
(Submitted by a Senior Publisher)

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