Jed Morey’s Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Newspaper

Fifty/Fifty

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presspowerpicIt’s that bittersweet time of the year again when I shove Dale Carnegie to the side and lose friends trying to influence people. Our annual Power List issue ranks the 50 most influential people on Long Island, thereby forcibly diminishing the number of people who will take my call. Hopefully, the 50 people on the list find their bios flattering enough to take my call, though there are still some who will be dismayed at their position. 

In the past we have seen the Power 50 jokingly referring to one another by their number on the list. We have also fielded angry phone calls from publicists and flacks for politicians and businesspeople who feel as though they have been wronged by their position—or worse, their omission. We have been criticized for a lack of diversity on the list despite our warnings that the list is presented as a mirror of the movers and shakers on Long Island and not as a popularity contest. Sometimes placement on the list is a dubious distinction, but more often than not it is a reward for bold actions and initiatives by members of our community who put their jobs and reputations on the line fighting for what they believe in. 

Those who know the Power List committee personally know well that the more they lobby for a spot on the list every year, the less likely they are to be chosen. Those who don’t know us well enough continue to lobby aimlessly every year wondering why their pleas seemingly go ignored. The reason for this is quite simple, actually. If you think about it, the truly powerful individual requires no lobbying efforts, as their actions throughout the year speak much louder than their words ever will. 

Assembling the list is a daunting task because there are several Long Islanders who have global reach but do little for Long Island. Then there are big fish in our curiously small and incestuous pond who impact our lives on a daily basis. We strive to find a balance between billionaires and advocates, religious leaders and educators. All together, the list represents a broad cross section of passionate and hard-working “Type A” individuals who are relentless in their pursuits—whatever they may be. 

The only firm guideline we have in choosing our Power Listers is that they live here. After that, the process is clearly subjective and there is always furious debate over who should be considered, and even more heated discussion about who makes the final cut. It’s more difficult than you might imagine. Several personal contacts and friends are cast aside for people we barely know. Further soul searching is done about perennial Power Listers who did great things but whose accomplishments were simply overshadowed this particular year by people who may be one-timers on the list. While we would love to include everyone who makes a difference, at the end of the day there are only 50 spots for 2.7 million of us. 

The gauntlet we throw down to every Power List member is to view this honor as a challenge to continue the work they started, and not to see this as some sort of congratulatory culmination of career accomplishments. Because this is an annual list, it is a living, breathing and ever-changing ranking that could look very different in just a week from now. But for today, here they are. Warts and all. 

Anyway, I’m off to see if James Dolan will take my call. Surely he must be looking to add a weekly newspaper to his collection of media companies…

Written by jmorey

May 2, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Posted in Publishing

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All the news that’s fit to keep printing…

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newspaper

Advertise In The Long Island Press (Subliminal Caption)

As a fortunate son born into a family broadcast business, I did what any good Gen-X media executive would do with the advent of the internet: I started a newspaper. Pretty cutting edge, no? Currently I’m working on a patent for a new, sleek horse-drawn carriage. Stay tuned. It should be big.

Being acknowledged as such a new-media pioneer has afforded me the opportunity to speak on a few panels lately with discussion topics such as “The Dying Newspaper Industry” and “How to Keep Your Newspaper Alive in a Depression.” Good times. Good times.

 

 

My own experiences and my colleagues on Long Island have taught me, however, that newspapers aren’t dying. In fact Long Islanders are consuming more news than ever—yes, including print. Long Islanders and all Americans can’t get enough news and information it seems. The difference is that they demand it constantly and in multiple forms. This has confounded the news gatherers who struggle to maintain the integrity of the written word and stressed the news gathering process given our voracious appetite for it.

This is a good news/ bad news scenario for news organizations whether they be community focused, national outlets, broadcasters or this alternative newsweekly. The good news is that our product is being consumed with greater frequency and interest. The bad news is that there are more ways of receiving information and they are mostly free. The real bad news isn’t increased competition from talking heads and bloggers or the commoditization of information by search engines. Rather, the information glut has diminished the perceived value of advertising dollars businesses are willing to commit.

The prospect of search in an Orwellian sense is that all information is and will be available to everyone immediately. While the portal to this information is narrowing to the point where we will all someday reside somewhere inside the googleplex, the sources of information have become increasingly fragmented. The present danger in the googleplex is the blogger being seen as an equal to the newspaper reporter who must report stories that are vetted through time-tested systems. The long-term danger (which is like dog years in the googleplex) is that traditional reporting that is right and trustworthy will not receive enough advertising support to exist for much longer.

With several daily newspapers on the brink and a few already beginning to fall, Eric Schmidt of Google has already peered into his crystal ball and is afraid of what he sees. He doesn’t want to be responsible for killing the journalism trade. Besides, as Tim Knight, Publisher of Newsday, astutely pointed out on a panel this week – if the newspaper are gone, what will we google? Imagine a giant information vacuum that consists of bloggers critiquing other blogs and talking heads on television covering their critiques while politicians succumb to viral conspiracy theories left unchecked.

In a “Gladwellian” sense (I hope that term make it on Wikipedia!) newspapers have always played the roles of both maven and connector. As mavens we generate the news stories that serve as connectors around the water cooler and dinner table. While still playing the role of maven, we are no longer the connectors. When society reaches a point where our children text message each other while in the same room and our Facebook updates take the place of a phone call, we have officially surrendered the connector role.

Therefore, newspapers must seemingly leave the connector role behind and continue the work of mavens. But it is exactly our roles as connectors that advertisers pay for. And there’s the rub.

The salvation of newspapers will be in the people and businesses that value the credibility of information and the quality of the people who are reading them. The smart business owner will realize that in the information age, newspapers are still one of the best places to advertise because we offer a wealth of original and creative information that still matters to the interested and engaged public. The businesses that will miss the boat, particularly during a recession, will believe the hype that no one is reading newspapers any longer. After all, if you’re reading these words and have made it all the way through this diatribe, you’re one of them. And I bet there are businesses out there that are wishing they knew how to find you. If only I could introduce you to them…

Written by jmorey

March 27, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Publishing

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