It was breathtaking to see how fast the aging but still nimble Rupert the Wily stalked and mercilessly killed his prey, Dow Jones, with only a bare hint of blood on his paws. Rupert entered the lair with a dripping hunk of fresh meat ($5 billion), divided and conquered the dysfunctional Bancroft’s and this week came away with the trophy of a lifetime, enough to secure his crown as the greatest media big game hunter of all time.
Seeing how entrenched, resistant and divided the Bancroft’s were to Rupert’s entreaties was a fascinating window into what has been ailing Dow Jones all these years. Dow Jones covers business but it was not being run as a business, or a vital media property. Expect that to change fast.
Three suggestions for Rupert:
1) Lift the beleaguered Dow Jones reporters from their exile in the dreary Harborside bunker in New Jersey. Taking the PATH to get to Dow Jones is unconscionable. And when you arrive at the newsroom, such as it is, it looks like it was constructed to pump propaganda for the Politburo. Bloomberg built a stunning modern cathedral to the power of financial media. Make a post 9/11 patriotic statement, build the Frank Gehry designed financial nerve center of the universe in lower Manhattan. PS: As Bloomberg smartly realized, free cappuccino does wonders for media production.
2) Get an information architecture specialist like Jakob Nielsen to figure the coordinated presentation of news. The recent re-design of the print edition was a failure. It cheapened the Journal, made it into a cheat sheet for the website. Compounding the problem, the Journal online is a confusing mess. Do not offer online content for free. The Journal was a pioneer in charging for content. If done right, it’s worth it. Scale up, not down.
3) Inject the business/financial news with urgency, drama, and sex. It’s what news is about, what business is about. Conde Nast launched Portfolio with huge marketing and a big capital commitment. When I read Portfolio I think – this could easily be in the Journal, the daily diary of the American dream, with the added kicker of deep conservative cred on the editorial pages. Kill the Saturday edition. Nobody reads it and dilutes the focus of the Journal. I bet it doesn’t pay in advertising anyway.
I poked Amanda Chapel this week. I was respectful, took proper precaution and I think it was good, if not brief, for both of us. Emboldened by my first successful poke on Facebook I began to poke others. With all this indiscriminate poking going on it’s no wonder that this online community is propagating at an alarming rate.
A “poke” on Facebook is equivalent of saying ‘yo, wassup’ and then moving on until you get some kind of response. You poke, gather friends, join groups, add all kinds of widgets and doohickeys to your profile and something is supposed to happen. Your life changes? You find the perfect mate, the perfect job, zing! make that connection you dreamed of your whole life? Or you simply waste more time futzing around the Net.
I was poking and futzing and jabbing all over the place this week because of the disturbing post on Strumpette last Monday – see A FIRST: Strumpette Spares Life of WOMM Evangelist. The post was about the ‘White Paper’ offered by Paul Rand and Giovanni Rodriquez on behalf of the Council of PR firms. The White Paper was a ‘call to action’ to critically discuss the “traditional vs. conversational” PR debate. So naturally, with this enticement, I was prepared to throw myself into the big conversation. The problem was that nobody was talking.
Amanda sent out an email to heads of many of the top PR firms to join the debate. No takers. A scan around the blogs of the PR firm CEOs showed no activity except an occasional pronouncement about how we have to stop controlling messages and learn to have conversations. Isn’t it obviously ironic to issue a statement about having a conversation and then refusing to engage in dialogue? Isn’t this the essence of the problem with PR, saying one thing and doing another?
So I retreated to the Strumpettes group on Facebook and started a discussion called “Where’s the conversation?” That went nowhere but a discussion started by David-James Vaughan titled “Is blogging dead?” sparked some intriguing responses and a smattering of a debate. I am beginning to think that perhaps the answer to that question is yes, or at least possibly. Like all movements that capture a “moment” there is an initial euphoria, a peak, then a decline. Sunrise doesn’t last all morning, as George Harrison used to sing, and the fantastic proliferation of blogs makes meaningful dialogue harder to find.
David-James, a graduate student in Ottawa, ON, is listed as ‘VP Recruitment & Outreach’ for the Strumpettes Facebook group. This is a good choice since David-James apparently has no trouble in his personal recruitment efforts. He has an astounding 506 Facebook friends, most of whom are smiling, attractive, bright-looking women. Hey D-J, is everybody in Canada that healthy looking?
On Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:41 AM, Ronn Torossian, President and CEO of 5WPR, emphatically promised that he was going to sue us. No real reason, he was just irritated by our teasing him about getting in bed with pornographer Joe Francis. Anyway, Ronn gave his obscenity-laced word that we'd see the complaint in 72 hours. It's now late by
Kathleen Durazo about A Measly $2.8 Million Goes Missing, Lawsuit Results Fri, Jul 31, 10:58:34 AM Ray Durazo (the founder) sold the company to Dan in 1999. He was not involved in any of this. He (and I) found out about the lawsuit in the LA Times. In addition to embezzling this m [...]