Monthly Archives: December 2010

Operation Frozen Vengeance

No wall between digital and print

Separations between the digital and print staffs in both business and editorial operations came down. The Web site’s paywall was dismantled. A cadre of young writers began filling the newsroom’s cubicles. Advertising salespeople were told it did not matter what percentage of their sales were digital and what percentage print; they just needed to hit one sales target. A robust business around Atlantic-branded conferences took off.

The strategy is not a cure-all template for troubled media companies, of course. The Atlantic, a tiny enterprise compared with vast corporate magazine empires like Time Inc. and Condé Nast, has only about 100 business and editorial employees and a circulation of 470,000. A scale that small means that a few million dollars could push the company over the top — an amount that would barely register on the balance sheets of many other publishers.

The other lesson here is that smaller is better. I’m sure everyone at The Atlantic still gets paid, has benefits, etc. But with their smaller size, they’re much more nimble and much more able to experiment.

As always, please click through and read the entire story.

Are there any REAL reformers in Illinois politics?

This is why I hate pols like Toni Preckwinkle more than pols like Joe Berrios – whom I despise. Berrios actually believes that there is nothing wrong with the way he operates – or he simply doesn’t care. But he doesn’t hide who he is.

Preckwinkle, on the other hand, knows better. She believes differently. She fights – however meekly – against everything that Berrios stands for. But when she needs a heavy, she turns a blind eye.

I’m not sure there are any real reformers in Illinois politics, but there sure are a lot of fake ones.

A non-journalist often says it best

Journalists these days need to think their role as more of an aggregator, more of a facilitator and less of a role as the voice of authority,” says Sklar.

Other gold:

The comments on Edhat also act as a barometer for success. A good day at Edhat is when Sklar can look back at the comments and see a really great discussion that was centered on an issue that is important to the Santa Barbara community.

That’s just the attitude that Windy Citizen takes for instance. I know how exciting it is when a thread gets to 20, 50 or 100 or more comments. That’s real engagement. That’s really knowing your audience. That’s when it’s amazing.

Unemployment explained

So, first, the unemployment insurance (UI) bit:

1. UI is not available to just anyone: you only qualify by losing your job in under very specific circumstances.

2. Unemployment insurance is just that: insurance. A typical worker has spent decades paying into it precisely so he or she can collect it when they need it.

3. To receive UI, you can’t “do nothing”. You have to look for work. Every week. And prove it. Every week.

4. UI pays a pittance. A bare survival stipend to keep food on the table. That is all.

5. Contrary to the age-old “welfare queen”-baiting racism and “Poor = Lazy/ Rich = Virtuous” class warfare meme of the Right, the average unemployed worker wants to work. Typically, he or she is out there every fucking day knocking on doors and being told “no”, applying online to companies from which they never hear back, working their ever-fraying network of friends and former colleagues, sending out hundreds of resumes. They fail because…

6. There are no fucking jobs.

Also too…

7. If you are over 45 there is a terrifyingly high probability that our economy will never produce another substantive job for you again.

From personal experience… yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and YES. Ok., the last yes is not from personal experience as I’m only 30. But I’m hearing from many people over 45 (and even 40) that it seems to be the case.

Also on this topic, check out Megan Cottrell’s excellent series on the 99ers (people who have collected unemployment for the maximum allowable 99 weeks and still have not found work):

Juking the stats

Kentucky’s Gonna Get a New Theme Park!