Friday, November 13, 2009

magazines and martinis

"Drink for reward, not for inspiration."

A New York Times columnist told me that a few years ago, as I was entertaining the thought of quitting my job at Edun to get a graduate degree in journalism. (He was about to speak on a panel; I offered him a drink.)

In any case, tonight I ignored said columnist's advice and drank for both reward and inspiration. It was a long week. As you likely know if you're reading this (since there's a solid chance you're related to me), I'm looking down the barrel of my final weeks of journalism school while interning at one of the bastions of long-form print journalism. Tonight, in the descending elevator at Condé Nast, one editor mentioned he was ready for a martini. Me too, I thought--but I would have mine at home.

I was exhausted, and furthermore, I knew Jeff Jarvis (click), was expecting our notes from CUNY's New Business Models for News conference. They called this forum a Hyper Camp, which I just love because it reminds me of Mike Myer's hyper-hypo, one of the great SNL skits of all time.

In all honesty, I don't think my notes from my short (is there any other kind?) stay at Hyper Camp need to be that extensive, because if you're really that interested, you were probably reading the tweets of everyone that was thumb-dancing on their blackberries around me while I took notes--in my notebook. I'm tempted to just scan them in, as we did my notes from Cynthia Rowley's Spring 2010 show(click), but's what I thought was interesting from the Hyper Camp (I love it!) meeting about Community Engagement and Marketing--from my notes in my notebook. I'll make bullets, in case anyone's averse to paragraphs.

  • Mary Ann Giordano (click) said Brian Stelter (click) told her it takes a year for a blogger to build an audience, and that they have to be their own marketers.

  • Debbie Galant, who founded Baristanet (click) said everyone in her family learned to blow up balloons in the early days of building her business--there's a specific helium proportion she recommends for longevity. You could email her for that. She also talked about the importance of readers' tips, citing the example of Baristanet's reporting a Monday night microburst, which is actually like a small tornado, even though it sounds like a meteorological event invented for Hyper Camp.

  • Soraya Darabi (click), who manages online social media for The New York Times, told the bloggers on the panel to go where their audiences are (meaning websites they frequent), start a conversation, and if it doesn't catch, move on. Seems like good advice in general, no? (Darabi, btw, looks like she's probably had a fair deal of practice playing hard to get--for someone who specializes in virtual presence, she's rather striking in person.)

  • David Cohn of (click) called himself a "relentless self-marketer." Next to that I wrote, that's just hustle. Nothing new there. He also said the transparency of his website's reporting made it appeal to civically minded people, that it takes a year for an audience to respond to you and trust you, and that it doesn't require a budget, it just requires sweat.

  • Tina Kelley (click), of the Maplewood branch of The New York Times' Local Blog (which lots of CUNY students--click, click, click, contribute to), pointed out the problematic nature of covering contraversy in her own neighborhood. Debbie summed that up nicely, citing the motto of the Lake Wobegon Herald: "We have to live here too."
I might be dealing with a little of that myself.

1 comment:

  1. It's all sounding like what I remember of the dating world. Try to think of it all as an adventure.