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Dylan Stableford

Meredith's Careers Page: No 'Content Strategists'—But Plenty of 'Editors'

Dylan Stableford Editorial - 03/03/2008-09:50 AM

There's been a lot of buzz (relatively speaking) about Meredith president Jack Griffin's comments about editors ("We don't hire editors anymore—we hire content strategists") since his keynote last week at the FOLIO: Publishing Summit in Miami.

But, as one astute commenter points out, there's not a single "content strategist" position listed on Meredith's careers page—but plenty of editors.

Was Griffin blowing smoke for the sake of an industry keynote?

Check out the keynote report here, and our video Q+A with Grffin here.

Jason Fell

CMP: The Official Announcement

Jason Fell B2B - 02/29/2008-18:31 PM

FOLIO: reported today United Business Media's decision to split CMP Technology into four “integrated media companies” in order to “better align CMP’s products with its customers.” In addition, UBM named four CEOs for the respective companies, and dropped the name CMP altogether.

Some FOLIO: commenters have called the restructuring a “non-announcement,” claiming that nothing has really changed.

What do you think?

Here's the press release in its entirety:

United Business Media Transforms CMP into Four Independent Media and Information Services Businesses

News Release Issued: February 29, 2008 3:00 AM EST

United Business Media Transforms CMP into Four Independent Media and
Information Services Businesses

New market-focused agile businesses to leverage UBM global resources and infrastructure

LONDON, Feb. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- United Business Media plc (UBM) today announced that it will restructure CMP Technology (CMP) into four new, market-focused businesses. As agile, independent organizations, each new business will be well positioned to meet the changing needs of the professional communities and technology markets it serves. The creation of these market-focused businesses is the next step in CMP's strategic transformation into a next generation media company.

In the last three years, CMP has significantly rebalanced its businesses, investing in the development of new products and services (including bMighty, Designlines, eXalt, InternetEvolution, MTC, myGDC, Teardown TV and TechWeb Performance Marketing) and its expansion in international markets. UBM has supported CMP's evolution with the investment of over $225 million in eighteen acquisitions, particularly events and business information products.

UBM's 2007 results, released today, demonstrate the development of CMP's businesses from largely print publishers (75% of revenues in 2004) into integrated media businesses that offer their customers a full suite of marketing solutions, including events, online and print products, as well as data-based workflow tools and services. In 2007, CMP generated 34.2% of its revenues from events, 20.2% from online products, 7.3% from workflow tools and business information services, and 38.3% from print products. The proportion of revenues contributed by events and services will rise in 2008 as result of the recent acquisition of Semiconductor Insights, Think Service Inc. and Vision Events. In 2007, CMP profits rose 30% to $50.1 million, with margins reaching 15.6%, the company's highest margins for five years.

The four new businesses and their respective Chief Executive Officers are noted below; each CEO will report to UBM Chief Executive, David Levin:

TechWeb, formerly CMP's Business Technology Group, will be led by Chief Executive Officer, Tony Uphoff. TechWeb, the global leader in business technology media, is an innovative new business focused on serving the needs of technology decision-makers and marketers worldwide. TechWeb produces the most respected and consumed media brands in the business technology market.

Today, more than 10 million business technology professionals actively engage with and rely on its global face-to-face events: Interop, Web 2.0, Black Hat and VoiceCon; online resources: The TechWeb Network, Light Reading, Intelligent Enterprise,, and The Financial Technology Network; and the market leading, award-winning InformationWeek, TechNet and MSDN Magazines. TechWeb also provides end-to-end services ranging from next-generation performance marketing, custom media, research and analyst services. 2007 proforma revenues for TechWeb were $148 million. For more information, visit

Everything Channel, formerly CMP Channel, will be led by Chief Executive Officer, Robert Faletra. Everything Channel is the global leader in Channel execution and the one stop shop for the indirect sales channel that drives 75 percent of technology sales throughout the world. High-tech suppliers and Solution Providers turn to Everything Channel to manage and accelerate their business, using its comprehensive portfolio of channel solutions which include the ChannelWeb online network, magazines (CRN and VARBusiness), events (XChange and Vision), workflow tools (MTC and eXalt), tele-recruiting, sales support, marketing services, research and education (IPED). 2007 proforma revenues for Everything Channel were $73 million. For more information, visit and

TechInsights, formerly CMP's Electronics Group, will be led by Chief Executive Officer, Paul Miller. TechInsights is the daily source of essential business and technical information for the electronics industry's decision makers -- the Creators of Technology -- who define, develop, and bring to market the electronic products that improve our lives. TechInsights uses that unique and privileged access to connect its customers to these decision makers at the right time and at the best ROI. With global market leading brands such as EE Times, Semiconductor Insights, TechOnline, Embedded Systems Conferences and Portelligent, TechInsights is the leading dedicated information and services business serving the global electronics market. 2007 proforma revenues for TechInsights were $83 million. For more information, visit

Think Services, formerly CMP's Game, Dr. Dobb's and International Customer Management Group, will be led by Chief Executive Officer, Philip Chapnick. Think Services connects specialized communities via interactive media, educational events, consulting, training and certification. The business' flagship products include the Game Developers Conference, the Webby Award- winning, the International Customer Management Institute, the Help Desk Institute and Dr. Dobb's Journal. 2007 proforma revenues for Think Services were $61 million. For more information, visit

Each business will have the freedom to develop business models, audience development initiatives and international programs that best fit its specific marketplace while also taking advantage of UBM's global footprint to support its international expansion.

The new businesses will share support functions and infrastructure, including finance, IT services, legal and global account and sales management. The central functions will become part of UBM's US infrastructure with Scott Mozarsky, currently CMP's Chief Financial Officer, taking the role of Chief Operating Officer. Scott will also serve on the Board of each business.

David Levin said:

"This is the next step in the strategic evolution of how we serve our technology market customers -- and we're doing it from a position of strength.

"As our strong and improving results for 2007 show, each of the operations within CMP has been successfully serving its specific markets, but going forward, as independent and focused businesses, they will be able to get even closer to their audiences and customers, developing products and services for these communities faster and with focus.

"At the same time, each business can take advantage of being part of UBM, a $2.5 billion corporation with a global infrastructure to support international expansion of their leading brands and content and a demonstrated track record of acquisitions and investment in new products."

About United Business Media Plc

United Business Media Plc is a leading global business media company. We inform markets and bring the world's buyers and sellers together at events, online, in print, and with the information they need to do business successfully. We focus on serving professional commercial communities, from doctors to game developers, from journalists to jewellery traders, from farmers to pharmacists around the world. Our 5,000 staff in more than 30 countries are organised into specialist teams that serve these communities, helping them to do business and their markets to work effectively and efficiently.

For more information, go to


Jandos Rothstein

Esquire Cares, Part II

Jandos Rothstein Design and Production - 02/29/2008-17:32 PM

Those of us who have kicked around publications for a while know that the letters page ain’t what it used to be.

And, I’m not just talking about what appears in the magazine—though most glossies are printing fewer inches of reader reaction than in years past. Readers (and more importantly readers who write) no longer have the same notion of what a letters page is in the first place.

In the old days, a mail page was one of a very few accessible forums. If you were the gatekeeper of one, you could count on all kinds of unpublishable entertainment—long paranoid screeds hand printed in tiny, careful letters on three (or 12) over-stuffed pages; amateur press packages from home entrepreneurs with uh, “whimsical” schemes; requests for pen pals from prisoners with hard luck stories—and other miscellany from folks desperate to gain access to an audience—any audience.

It really didn’t matter if you were at a college literary magazine or Newsweek—you could count on a steady stream of at once horrifying and amusing correspondence. And, as much as the crazier letters were passed around the newsroom and snickered at, it was also hard to be completely untouched by them. They spoke of lives much harder and more isolated than the ones we were living.

Of course, in addition to the crank stuff, the average magazine also received a lot more thoughtful submissions than they currently do. Why the drop off? One editor I talked to blames blogs. Everyone with something to say already has a blog or can find one on which they can comment. Audiences and communities are now found on Facebook, not the letters page. But, whatever the cause, the effect has snowballed. At my old newspaper, the letters page (not to mention the free ads in the back) used to generate conversations among readers that would go on for weeks. Mail no longer runs in every issue.

That sense of reader community that you found in print is all but gone at most publications.

So, one of the most interesting features of the recent Esquire redesign is the increased love and attention given to the letters page. And, they are honoring (if that’s the right word) both kinds of letter writers—engaged readers and whack jobs—with lots of inches for letters and a short feature that quotes “highlights from a letter we won’t be publishing this month”—a few words that hint at those not-ready-for primetime letters we all used to get, and apparently Esquire still does. “The Sound and the Fury” (possibly the best name for a letters page ever—though the new design downplays it) becomes visual through informational graphics reflecting quantity of mail on various topics (and reader reactions to various pieces) and mini featurelets that expand upon the previous month’s content. Instead of rehashing art from the previous month (though there’s a little of that) the visuals emerge from content. It’s all at least as engaging as the magazine’s newsbrief section a few pages later.

It’s all so well done, in fact, that it raised some question in my mind as to whether I was reading real reader-provided material or not. If not, Esquire certainly wouldn’t be the first magazine to “enhance” its letters page, but I’d like to believe that it’s possible to take the best of a magazine’s mailbag (and web forums) and turn it into something that would work this well in print.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Buy Jandos' new book!]

Joanna Pettas

Designing a 'Brave New World'

Joanna Pettas Design and Production - 02/29/2008-00:47 AM

This month’s featured Face Up cover, Architectural Record’s December issue, is unlike most that the title puts out. It displays a futuristic design—one of the winners of its annual Vanguard awards—rather than a finished project. One Face Up panelist said it looked like a Matrix parody. Another said it feels like a “brave new world.” Overall, panelists described the cover as “beautiful,” “sophisticated,” and “effective.” The main criticism was that the cover lines were too hard to read, but that may have been somewhat intentional. Editor-in-chief Robert Ivy says the cover is “bold and causes you to look and question.”

What do you think? Take this month’s Face Up poll for a chance to win an iPod shuffle.

Dylan Stableford

The FOLIO: 40: A Call for Nominees

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 02/28/2008-16:33 PM

The FOLIO: 40, our prestigious annual list of magazine industry innovators, power players and under-the-radar influencers, is fast approaching. This year, we’re opening up the nomination process to all of our readers, both print and online. (We’ll ultimately award a slot via online vote, but more on that later.)

We’re looking for nominees in the following categories:

C-Level Visionaries
Director-Level Doers
Under the Radar
Ones to Watch

If you would like to nominate a colleague, competitor, or—as sometimes is the case—yourself, please fill out the form below.

Remember, nominations are one thing, but to ultimately be included among our list of 40, nominees must be able to demonstrate how they’ve succeeded in their market—or influenced the industry—with quantifiable metrics to back up your case. (Alas, low golf handicaps do not count).

Check out last year’s list here, and get nominating!

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Mark Newman

Editors vs. Art Directors

Mark Newman Design and Production - 02/27/2008-14:51 PM

I have been either lucky or blessed when it comes to art directors because none of mine have been what you would call a “diva.”

Freak, yes. Diva, no.

Let me first say that editors and their magazines would be nothing—nothing!—without their art directors. Every time my art director Catherine delivers me a new layout for Southern Breeze, it feels like unwrapping a gift on Christmas morning. And the same is true for my past art directors: Ellie, Tony, Jonathan, Myra, John, Bob, Carrie et al. All of them artistic geniuses, all of them lifesavers, and all of them know one truth to be self-evident: the editor is always right.

Some describe the editor-A.D. relationship like a partnership. I agree, but the editor is the SENIOR partner. Others describe it as a marriage. That, too, is accurate … and the art director is always the wife! (Yeah, I went there.)

If you didn’t know better you’d think that I had nothing but disdain for art directors. Nothing could be further from the truth. But the editor has final say. Period. The editor knows the audience or the industry the magazine caters to. And while the A.D. may want to create a counterbalanced, flowing, multi-spread amalgamation for the article on crescent wrenches, it just ain’t gonna work. Stephen Sondheim once wrote that “work we do for others; art we do for ourselves.” Make it pretty, art directors, but make it realistic.

Granted, there are difficult editors who might ask for 12 designs of the same sidebar or make a font cursive. Editors can be unreasonable, demanding, and it’s not unusual to find an editor who simply has terrible taste. One editor-type I know loved graphics on the covers of his b-to-b, but not good graphics. We’re talking flow charts! Yuk! And the poor art director had to comply even though he knew it looked lousy. (And it did; I saw it!)

But like any good relationship, the one editors have with art directors should make life easier, not a daily battle of wills. If your art director is causing your hair to fall out or keeping you up at night, you can easily remedy the situation by showing him the door. Nobody is that artistically gifted.

On the other hand, you show me an art director with too much power and I’ll show you a weak, ineffectual editor who has no business being at the top of the masthead. Powerful art directors are intrinsically responsible for redesign after elaborate redesign that typically signals the last throes of a magazine’s existence.

However, like any marriage, the art director/editor union needs constant work. I find that one of equal respect—of talent as well as boundaries—has worked best for me. But then again, never underestimate the power of busting chops.

Tony, the art director I’ve worked with the longest, would always consider my ideas on, say, cover line font colors to complement a cover image. But I would always defer to him when it came time to pick appropriate art, mapping out the magazine, and pretty much everything else. We also had a mutually antagonizing working relationship—while I insisted on imitating him with a Marlon Brando impression, he would find the most flowery verbiage in one of my pieces, print it out in 40-point type, and hang it up in the art department as if it were a warning for me to not get too carried away.

It was a nice serving of humble pie, which is something all editors need now and then.

My next post will feature feedback from some art director types. This oughta be interesting ...

Jason Fell

CMP Said to Name CEO This Week

Jason Fell B2B - 02/26/2008-12:32 PM

Nearly two months without a day-to-day CEO, CMP may be ready to announce a successor to Steve Weitzner, who was moved from CEO to chairman earlier this year and left the company for rival publisher Ziff Davis Enterprise shortly after. I have heard from multiple sources that the announcement could come before the end of the week.

Although no one’s talking, a logical choice candidate would be Tony Uphoff, CMP’s Business Technology Group president. Uphoff is a 20-plus-year industry veteran and is no rookie to the CMP brand. In the 1990s he served as BTG president and group publisher, and was publisher of InformationWeek. Last year, he rejoined CMP from Nielsen Business Media, where he was publisher of The Hollywood Reporter and president of the Film & Performing Arts Group.

Whether or not Uphoff gets the nod—or is the only hire—remains to be seen.

Oh, and don’t be surprised if a restructuring happens shortly after the announcement.


Jandos Rothstein

Esquire Cares, Part I

Jandos Rothstein Design and Production - 02/26/2008-12:18 PM

I wrote a while back that most magazines were not particularly concerned with that ambassador to the reader, the table of contents page. Still true—but Esquire is an exception to the rule. TOChinations at the magazine predate January’s redesign—the book has a history of putting collaged, structuralist, and sometimes even more whimsical arrangements on its contents page. One (from late last Fall) put content in the form of an array of cubes—it looked more like a recent NYT infographic than anything else. Stunning and inefficient, that version took four pages rather than the usual two.

None of the magazine’s recent contents pages are your parents TOC, into which text is unceremoniously poured and routinely formatted. As a whole the pages vary in interest (to my mind the “issue map” version [above, bottom] is a hum-drum take on old gimmick of previewing spreads—first done (I think) by Talk) but as a group they delightfully show the potential of the page.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Buy Jandos new book!]

Dylan Stableford

Do You Actually Have to Listen to an Album to Review It?

Dylan Stableford Editorial - 02/25/2008-17:34 PM

Maxim isn't exactly a bastion for journalistic integrity. Nor a bastion for music criticism. But according to the Black Crowes (you know, “Twice as Hard,” “Jealous Again,” Kate Hudson’s ex, beards) the magazine burned whatever credibility it had left by reviewing the band’s upcoming album without actually listening to it.

According to a post on the Black Crowes official site, the Maxim writer, who “has not heard the album since advance CDs were not made available—wrote what appears to be a disparaging assessment anyway, citing ‘it hasn’t left Chris Robinson and the gang much room for growth.’”

Peter Angelus, the band’s manager, said when confronted Maxim called the review an “educated guess”: “‘Of course, we always prefer hearing music, but sometimes there are big albums that we don’t want to ignore that aren’t available to hear, which is what happened with the Crowes. It’s either an educated guess preview or no coverage at all, so in this case we chose the former.’”

Angelos added: “What’s next—Maxim's concert reviews of shows they never attended, book reviews of books never read and film reviews of films never seen?”

I’m awaiting word from Maxim’s side of the story. But the incident does beg the question: Do you actually have to listen to an album (or read a book or watch a film) to review it?

UPDATE: An apology from Maxim editorial director Jim Kaminsky: "It is Maxim's editorial policy to assign star ratings only to those albums that have been heard in their entirety. Unfortunately, that policy was not followed in the March 2008 issue of our magazine and we apologize to our readers."

Jason Fell

Ex-Time Out Editor's Web Venture Unveiled

Jason Fell emedia and Technology - 02/25/2008-12:54 PM

Former Time Out New York editor Brian Farnham has been tight-lipped about the Internet start-up company he left the magazine late last month to help launch. Today, though, I received this e-mail from Farnham via LinkedIn. His company is an online news information site called Polar News. And apparently, they’re hiring.

The new position—a production manager—is an interesting one. It seems to combine editorial, marketing and circulation responsibilities.

Interested? See the e-mail below.

On Behalf Of Brian Farnham
Sent: Monday, February 25, 2008 12:18 PM
To: Jason Fell
Subject: We're hiring!

If you have a moment, I'd appreciate your help. Please take a look and forward this job on to anyone you think would be interested in the position, or anyone else who could help me find a great candidate.

Thanks for your help!

Company: Polar News
Job Title: Product Manager
Description: If you...
-- Get Web 2.0
-- Want to work in a flexible entrepreneurial environment
-- Understand the term “hyperlocal” and its potential
-- Love building businesses from the ground up

…then this may be a job for you:

A well-funded startup backed by Internet Pioneers You’ve Heard Of is looking for a Product Manager.

This person will OWN a specific vertical in a new online news and information site—conception, development, execution, reporting, and measurement.

The PM will report to the Vice President and work closely with all other departments—content, engineering, marketing, etc.

Major Responsibilities:

-- Build and manage a product roadmap
-- Innovate, develop and execute strategies
-- Define user requirements for new features, incorporating cross-functional input, research, usability studies and competitive analyses.
-- Define and implement feedback and reporting requirements for all products to ensure that they can be optimized based on quantitative and qualitative data.
-- Work closely with the engineering team on technical implementations
-- Work cross functionally and take a hands-on role when needed (Editorial, Design, Marketing and Engineering.)
-- Identify business development opportunities and initiate meetings and potential deals
-- Drive projects from birth to adulthood

Experience / Skills / Profile:

* BA/BS required, ideally in a business, marketing, or computer science/engineering related field.
* At least one year of product management experience with strong social networking and Web 2.0 knowledge.
* Proficiency in HTML and Photoshop are a plus.
* Strong technical background (e.g., web standards, design and usability, and common web and application architectures).
* Excellent organizational skills including ability to build effective working relationships.
* Proven track record of setting aggressive goals and meeting them, with a style characterized by personal motivation, organizational skills and communications effectiveness.
* Knowledgeable across multiple functional areas – Product Management, Engineering, UI, Sales.
* Juggle multiple tasks and projects simultaneously in a deadline-oriented environment.
* Strong aptitude for determining the optimal way to position products in the market.
* Experience managing budgets and demonstrating ROI..
* Experience in online news, media, services preferred.

Competitive compensation package including base salary, full benefits, performance and start-up based incentives.

Henry Donahue

Getting Out of the Magazine Site Ghetto

Henry Donahue emedia and Technology - 02/25/2008-10:51 AM

Quote from a media reporter at lunch last week: "Every magazine tells me great things about their Web strategy, then I go back to check their Nielsen traffic and they're too small to be measured."

If you believe the trade magazine box scores, online traffic was a rare Q4 bright spot for magazines last week in a month of mostly bad industry news (newsstand and advertising are down, paper prices keep going up.)

The fact remains however that unless you have swimsuit models or Lindsay Lohan, your magazine site is still sitting below 100 million (and probably 10 million) monthly page views level.

Magazine sites have grown in the past few years by executing against the basics-unique online content updated multiple times per day, blogs, photo galleries, video, podcasts, user-generated content, etc. At this point, though, those features are just the price of admission. The challenge for publishers now is to take a step up out of the magazine site ghetto into competition with the real Internet players.

A typically brief and unscientific survey shows reveals two emerging trends and one time-tested winner among strategies for putting the M back into CPM:

Social Networking. Fast Company is making a notable attempt to supercharge its user profiles into a full-blown social networking site. Though not a consumer site, Variety is also trying its hand at being Facebook-ish.

Blogification. Several sites are jettisoning old-fashioned magazine navigation in favor of a stripped-down blog approach, a la Boing Boing or Gawker. The best example of this is the new I'll be damned if I'm going to link to those guys-so I give you ReadyMade magazine.

Recipes. Not as sexy as social networking or blogs, but a proven strategy built on the original user generated content play. Reader's Digest's gets 30 times the page views of is also above 100 million page views. Epicurious and are also in the topmost tier of magazine sites.

So there you have it. Social networks and blogs are sexy, but apparently not as sexy as a good ratatouille. Now if only I could think of some science-related menus for Discover.

Dylan Stableford

Overheard at FPS | Day Two

Dylan Stableford FPS 2008 - 02/22/2008-11:34 AM

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following quotes are from various sessions during Day Two of the 2008 FOLIO: Publishing Summit. We’ll add to this list throughout the day.]

"We have a society columnist who looks at the computer and says, 'Over my dead body.' And that may indeed be the situation."
—A city and regional publisher on the struggle to change the editorial culture at his magazine.

“They not only save you money, they bring young, fresh ideas into an organization. They’re not cynical. They don't know it can't be done.”
Michael T. Carr, president, Greenspun Media, on hiring interns.

“I have 85 people in open revolt at any given time.”
—Carr on getting his 1,200 employees to buy into a new business idea.

“We spend $4,000-$5,000 per issue. But we have to do it to create an environment for these high end advertisers.”
Lynne Groth, publisher, Gulfshore Life, on producing fashion pages for her magazine.

"We threw a $200,000 over-the-top party, and it cost us $10,000."
Dana Spain-Smith, COO, DLG Media Holdings, on selling event sponsorships.

"You need to put fire in the belly of your writers."
Don Tenant, vice president and editorial director, Infoworld and Coputerworld, on getting reporters to write daily breaking news.

"We look for the money shot. It may be only five seconds, but its something that just can't be told in a textual form."
Evan Hansen, editor-in-chief, Wired News

"Tremendous spikes [in Web traffic] can come through and then be gone. What does that mean?"
Hank Boye, publisher, Harvard Business Review.

"People are reading in completely different ways. I have a lot of designers who get it, a lot of sales people who really want to get it, and then I have a whole bunch of editors who are in total denial."
Craig Waller, chief marketing director, Pace Communications.