Monthly Archives: February 2009

Stop the Presses

newspaperpressIt has been a rough week for the newspaper business.  First, the San Antonio Express News announced layoffs. Then, the San Francisco Chronicle put its staff on notice of pending layoffs and its possible closing. And on Friday, the Rocky Mountain News issued it’s last daily.

All this is very depressing and further evidence that our new digital world has had harmful effects on the established news institutions – much like the chaos created once pythons were introduced into the Everglades.

So, all this got me thinking – and you know what happens when that starts.  I would have thought the San Francisco Chronicle would have been the first paper to stop circulation. Not by market pressures, but by their own choosing.

Nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley and in the midst of all the game changing Web 2.0 companies, it would have made all the sense in the world for The Chronicle to go all digital a long time ago…would have made more sense for The Merc do go first.  The decision would have been seen as highly innovative and something that would have catapulted them above other newspapers in thought leadership.

So, here’s my thinking:

If I were a newspaper man, I’d cancel six days of printed newspaper.  I’d move Monday-Saturday editions to online only and print a Sunday paper.

Have you seen newspapers lately? They are mostly filled with AP and Reuters stories. What’s the difference in doing that in print (costly) or online? See Huffington Post as a good example.

The Sunday edition would take all the best content from the week and compile it into one huge paper.  Personally, I buy one newspaper a week and it’s the Sunday edition for two reasons: The ads and expanded business and sports sections. Okay, three reasons. The third being the comics.

Advertising would be a mix between print and online.  Advertisers that print Sunday ads would be given premium position online. In fact, advertisers could sponsor the paper’s Facebook and MySpace pages and Twitter feeds. Maybe even build out a newspaper’s Ning space.

“This Tweet sponsored by Ford. “

I could also see newspapers open up WikiReporting, where papers would get its readership to collaborate with reporters and editors on news stories.  Newspapers are already asking for video and photos, why not ask for first hand accounts?  Editorial control would still be there.  I’d buy a paper or register online if content I contributed to became news – advertisers love site registrations.

What is going to end up happening to local newspapers is they will start buying syndicated content from larger papers in different cities more and more.  In fact, newspapers like the NY Times or USA Today could start opening up local editions using local bloggers (thanks @LMReeves for that factoid).

Newspapers are part of the fabric of the community.  They get people to walk to the curb, share at coffee shops, extend the value of silly putty and keep the cities they serve honest and educated.

I don’t want to see the papers go away or the talented journalists that produce them to not have jobs.  Hopefully, the business of newspapers can be innovated and enhanced.  Our sense of community depends on it.

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Ashes, Sacrifice and Renewed Perspective

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing on the street corners to be seen by men.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-6

A blog post is not a private prayer made in my room, but I feel compelled to share my perspective on this faithful night.   I attended a very powerful Ash Wednesday service tonight at my church, Faith Lutheran in Collierville, TN.  The service was powerful not because of production values, but because of the message.  And, the message is what got me thinking about what the true meaning of what Lent is and what it has become.

As I sat in the pew listening to a reenactment of what was going through Barabbas’ mind the night of the Crucifixion. (Barabbas was the murder who was let free, so that Jesus could take his place on the cross he was to die on)  I heard about the sacrifice one Man made for all of man.  The sacrifice of placing all sin on His back, going to the cross–his execution–for the purpose of forgiveness and hope.

Since I can remember, I’ve heard people talk about what they were giving up for Lent and they ate fish on Fridays. I was one of them.  I gave up cokes, chocolate, swearing and being mean to my little brother–never was successful.  We call all these things “sacrifices”.  These were called sacrifices because we were giving up things we love or things that we didn’t like about ourselves.

However, Jesus had a choice of sacrifice.  He had a choice of what to sacrifice.  He chose to sacrifice Himself for us.  Yet, we continue to sacrifice things that are selfish rather than make sacrifices for Him.

He died on a cross, we gave up diet coke. This doesn’t add up.

On this Lent I’ve come to see sacrifice in a different way.  My sacrifice won’t be to do without something I like. No, my sacrifice will be to do more.  To do more with my time, my thoughts, my actions and my decisions that honor His sacrifice.

And come Easter, I will celebrate and hope I will be renewed with a sense of grace, mercy and peace that only He can provide.

Thanks be to God. Amen


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CSPAN’s Social Media Night

Just finished watching a great show on CSPAN with Twitter founder Evan Williams (@ev) and it was great. I’m sure all my Facebook friends want to shoot me for tweeting just about everything he was saying — I update Facebook through my Twitter account. Anyway, CSPAN doesn’t have the video up yet on it’s sight, but here’s a link for when it does get posted. It provides great insight on the birth of Twitter and Williams provides an optimistic, although veiled, hint at the future.

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It’s been awhile I know

So the last time I wrote I was wishing everyone a happy holiday.  Well, I hope you had a good one.  I did.  So what’s my deal you ask? Where have I been? Well…

A Speaking Engagement

I had the privilege of speaking at the Memphis Social Media Expedition February meeting.  It was a blast and I always learn new things going to those meet-ups.  You should join us for the March edition.  My speech centered on 3 topics:

  • Social media is not about tools, it’s about culture
  • Social media IS just another channel.  Demystify social media and you’ll have greater adoption in your organization
  • And shared some highlights from my social media experience

Here’s what the Twitterati had to say:  Presentation Feedback

FedEx Tracking

svp, fedex digital access marketing

In case you missed it FedEx enhanced its web tracking tools.

This is Mark Colombo, he leads the team that’s responsible for FedEx tracking and other online properties.



Sheila Harrell Named Customer Executive of the Year


I had the pleasure of organizing an employee gathering to recognize Sheila Harrell as CSIA’s Customer Service Executive of the Year.  In addition to being a very nice person, Sheila is an industry-leading executive.

Here’s her Commercial Appeal photo.

There’s been some blogging

And, then there’s the wiki, wiki, wiki rollout, but more on that later.

You would have know all of this if you had been following me on twitter. So, check me out.

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