Tag Archives: Technology coverage
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Seattle Post-Intelligencer business reporters John Cook and Todd Bishop have left the paper — a big blow to its coverage of the top industry in the city — Â to go to the weekly business newspaper in Seattle, the Puget Sound Business Journal.
In an internal announcement, managing editor David McCumber wrote, “Todd Bishop and John Cook have left the paper, as of today. They are going to the Puget Sound Business Journal. Of course, we are sorry to see them go. We will move quickly to reshape our local tech coverage.”
Cook covered venture capital, and Bishop covered Microsoft. Each wrote blogs for the paper that were among its top traffic generators for the paper’s Web site.
Bishop had previously worked at the Puget Sound paper. In 2005, the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists gave his Microsoft blog a first-place award in the category of specialized weblogs. CNet News.com named it to the â€œBlog 100â€? list of top technology-related weblogs.
Cook he launched in 2001Â the P-Iâ€™s Venture Capital Notebook — an online resource for those in the startup and venture capital communities. The site — developed in conjunction with P-I online developer Mike Thompson — won a top prize from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2001.
Lucia Moses of MediaWeek writes about how SmartMoney magazine is going to start using a technology that allows readers to text keywords to get more information about a topic in an article.
Moses writes, “In the October issue, on stands Sept. 16, the title will print a call-out box prompting readers to text ‘retire’ to a short code. The call-out box will run in a pullout section on retirement thatâ€™s included in the issue.
“Respondents will get a PDF via email containing an additional article on retirement by a SmartMoney writer. Both PDF and pullout section are sponsored by Genworth Financial.
“Text4More benefits readers by giving them more information, while offering clients a way to integrate their message with key features, said Bill Shaw, publisher of SmartMoney, a partnership between Hearst and Dow Jones & Co. SmartMoney plans to regularly offer the Text4More feature to advertisers. Noted Shaw, ‘We see this program as a great way to bridge the gaps between print, online and mobile.’”
Read more here.
Steve Fox, who was managing editor and executive editor of PC World magazine in the 1990s, is returning to the publication as a vice president and editorial director. He replaces Harry McCracken, who left earlier this year.
FoxÂ has served as editor-in-chief of Affinity Labs for the past year.
For much of the 1990s, Fox served in editorial management positions at PC World, a leading online resource for technology buyers and users with an average reach of more than eight million unique visitors and 31 million page views per month.
“Steve has just the right skill set for PC World as we grow rapidly to become the online resource for professional and consumer technology buyers,” said Mike Kisseberth, president & CEO, PC World Communications,Â in a statement. “He’s a talented journalist and editorial executive for both print and online, and Steve immersed himself in social networking for professionals at Affinity Labs. His community-building expertise will be a valuable addition to our team.”
Fox was managing editor, senior editor, and executive editor at PC World from 1990-96 before joining another IDG publication, The Web magazine, as its editor-in-chief. He was editorial director at CNET.com from 1999-2002, but returned to IDG as editor-in-chief for InfoWorld in 2003.
Read more here.
Grover writes, “Rambling through the CNET building, you see twentysomethings who work for Gamespot.com and sleep on cots in their office, or the geeks who crowd the newsroom at CNET. CNET appeals to an under-35 crowd, compared with those pushing 60 who currently watch CBS. Moonves intends to have the CBS ad folks take the CNET people on sales calls, and to get them ads from car, drug, and other companies that have so far skipped the online sites. ‘Our guys couldn’t find their way to [Proctor and Gamble's headquarters in] Cincinnati,’ says CBS Interactive Chief Financial Officer Zander Lurie, who had the same job at the pre-CBS CNET. ‘That will change.’
“What’s not likely to change is the mountain of expectations that CBS still has to climb. CBS wanted CNET so badly that it raised its offer for the company three times, according to CNET’s financial statements. ‘We had a lot of companies who took a look at us,’ says former CNET Chairman Jarl Mohn, who rattles off companies like Walt Disney and Time Warner. ‘Only Leslie heard what we were saying.’
“So how does Moonves make the CNET deal pay? There will be some cost-cutting, he allows, but not much. CNET was making money already, and Moonves says the deal is immediately accretive to CBS. And with a total of 54 million monthly users to its sites, CBS is already a top 10 online player. But there’s a big upside if he can convince even more folks to come to the online screen, just like he did at the CBS network more than a decade ago. Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t. But don’t try to get in Moonves’ way while he figures it out.”
Read more here.
Xconomy, an online news site devoted to covering technology, innovation, venture capital funds, biotechs and startups, plans to expand into the San Diego market by the end of the month.
The company was started about a year ago in Boston, with the core editorial team coming out of the MIT magazine Technology Review.Â A second editorial operation in Seattle started about three months ago.
Bruce Bigelow, a senior writer on the business desk of the San Diego Union-Tribune, will help Xconomy get its San Diego coverage up and running. He resigned from the daily on Aug. 22 and will begin working for Xconomy on Sept. 28.
BigelowÂ was a member of the team of reporters and editors from the Union-TribuneÂ awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in national reporting for uncovering bribes paid to San Diego Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham in exchange for special legislation earmarks.
He also shared a 2006 award for enterprise reporting from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for “In Harm’s Way,” an article about the extraordinary casualty rate among employees working in Iraq for San Diego’s Titan Corp. He has written extensively about the 2002 corporate accounting scandal at software goliath Peregrine Systems. He also was a Gerald Loeb Award finalist and National Headline Award winner for a series that chronicled the development of a San Diego start-up company.
Among Xconomy’s other hires has been Luke Timmerman, who covered biotech for Bloomberg News and for the Seattle Times.
Schechner and Vascellaro write, “The new CNET.com includes a ‘brand showcase’ feature, allowing advertisers to pay for pages where they can promote products with links to CNET reviews, a service for which CBS can charge higher rates, according to Joe Gillespie, who oversees CNET.com. Amanda Richman, who runs the digital practice for Publicis Groupe SA’s Starcom MediaVest, says ‘there is a drive in the market for the scale and the efficiencies,’ that a combined CBS/CNET offers.
“Founded in 1992, CNET was an early content leader on the Web, growing through a stable of sites centered on technology news and product reviews. But in recent years, competition from blogs and other sites caused U.S. readership on some key properties to decline.
“The new CNET.com highlights another priority for CBS’s online strategy: video. A large window that will soon play high-definition video within the homepage promotes the site’s video content, including relevant clips from CBS broadcasts. Mr. Gillespie says video ads can sell for double normal ad rates on the site.”
Read more here.
Mark Hendrickson of TechCrunch writes Wednesday about the technology news Web site’s redesign.
Hendrickson writes, “So the first step entailed switching over to an ‘excerpt’ format with which readers could get a taste of our posts on the homepage before diving in to read them in full. By cutting down on the amount of content on the homepage, weâ€™ve reduced load times and made it easier to skim our headlines for the news and editorial you care about most.
“Weâ€™ve also taken a minimalist approach to design that uses lots of whitespace and gives priority to our main content with a wider post width and a larger font size (no more squinting on that high resolution monitor).
“As far as particular features go, a new ‘featured posts’ box sits adjacent to the second post on the homepage and in the sidebar of every single post page. Itâ€™s intended to highlight some of the content you might otherwise overlook, with a tab for the most recent posts and another for those that garnered the most comments in the past few days. Weâ€™ve also started to measure the traffic to our individual posts more closely and will add a tab with the most popular posts as well.”
Read more here.
Mike Himowitz, who left the Baltimore Sun last week after more than two decades of writing its personal technology column, was asked by Talking Biz News to reflect on his career and the changes he has seen.
Here is what he wrote in response:
“Although most people recognize my name from the tech column, that hasÂ never been my ‘real’ job, but an avocation of sorts. I spent my reporting career doing the usual things for The Evening SunÂ – cops, features, politics, local government, education, transportation, the State House and a stint in our Washington bureau. When I got interested in computers, my possession of a Radio Shack TRS-80 made me the newspaper’sÂ ’expert.’ And since no good deed ever goes unpunished in aÂ newsroom, IÂ served a five-year sentenceÂ as the news guy on the team that installed and ran our publishing system — a period during which I launched my column and developed great sympathy for tech support folks everywhere.
“After parole, I returned to the newsroom as state news editor of The Evening Sun, then Baltimore County bureau chief after the morning and evening staffs combined. Then I became ‘electronic news editor,’ a rather vaguelyÂ defined new title that involved computer-assisted reporting and developing new ‘electronic products.’ I was also on the team that worked on the first iteration of The Sun’s Web site, known as Sunspot. During one of the two periods when Sun management killed offÂ my column to save a few dollars,Â I continued writing about computers and gadgets on a freelance basis for Fortune magazine — a great gig that brought a lot of exposure, helped put my oldest boy through college,Â and for which I’m enternally grateful.
“But given our location in one of the nation’s most important research corridors, our top management was committed to making health and science a ‘franchise beat.’Â That gave me a chance to work with aÂ superb team of reporters and editors who covered their beats with world-class authority. Once again,Â our Health & Science section generated excellent readership, but no ads, and it died after three years — replaced by a weeklyÂ Features cover.
“In particular,Â writing a weekly technology column allowed me to pursue an avocation/hobby thatÂ was great fun — and something I probably would have done anyway. It also kept me writing, which I think is critically important. As an editor, if you have to sit down and write something on deadline every week, it keeps you ‘alive’ journalistically — and you have maintain your empathy for the people who work for you and have to do it every day.
“What’s so awful to contemplate isÂ thatÂ this whole frameworkÂ is dissolving before us.Â I have a friend withÂ a real estate business in anotherÂ cityÂ who told me heÂ used toÂ spend $100,000Â a year with the local paper but has cutÂ back to a fraction of that because he nowÂ gets so many of his leads over the Internet — and most of them from CraigsLIst. How do you compete with somebody who gives away what you have to charge for?
“Here’s what makes me even angrier — even with this falloff in advertising, many newspapers can still generate a positive cash flow. But so many of them have been swallowed up in leveraged buyouts that they’re saddled with debt that they never would have incurred in their independent days.Â They’re not typical failed companies who borrowed too heavily toÂ finance new plants or ill-fated expansion plans. They’re creatures of a insane investment climate. It’s hard to see how they’ll survive, or in what form — but I have confidence that if anyone can do it, and if they’re given half a chance, the folks at The Sun will figure out a way.”
Bill Husted, who has writtenÂ the Technobuddy column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s business section for 15 years, has accepted the paper’s buyout offer and will leave later this month.
Husted is the fifth person from the paper’s business desk to take the buyout offer. In all, the paper had 73 take its offer.
Â Husted started writing the Technobuddy column in 1993, and it now appears in newspapers around the country such as theÂ Austin American-StatesmanÂ and the Columbus Dispatch. He also writes a second tech column, a Q&A, that also appears in newspapers such as the Miami Herald and the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Husted joined the paper in August 1990. Since then, he has also been a tech reporter, a line editor and editor of the paper’s old Personal Technology section.
“Being a newspaperman has been an honor — it sounds corny but I don’t know another word that is better,” says Husted. “And I am so happy that my time in the job — it ain’t no profession and often isn’t a career, it’s a job –Â spanned some really good days for the business.”
Husted is a unusual business journalist in that he cameÂ to the Atlanta paper after running an in-house advertising agencyÂ for Bear Creek Corp.Â and working at two other adÂ shops.
Before that, he worked at the Arkansas Democrat, now the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, in Little Rock as city editor and was brieflyÂ an assistant managing editor. He was also a general assignment reporter at the paper. He also worked at the Russellville Courier-Democrat in Arkansas for one year.
Disclosure: I worked with Husted on the Atlanta business desk from 1994 to 1997. He was one of the nicest people I have ever worked with, and was a mentor when I needed advice.
In his last column, Baltimore Sun personal tech columnist Mike Himowitz writes about how he used the earliest personal computers as a reporting tool and how faithful readers saved his long-running column.
Himowitz writes, “Today this is known as Computer Assisted Reporting, a recognized specialty that gives reporters and editors the power to sort through huge volumes of public data and write stories that might have taken months or years in the days before PCs — if they were possible to do at all. Like me, most of the people who do this are not math jocks or geeks — just reporters who want answers to questions and use computers as a tool.
“After I’d bungled my way through enough of this stuff to be dangerous, I thought it might a fun sideline to share what I’d learned with readers who were still mystified by the digital world but keen to learn more about it.
“As it turned out, there were and are plenty of you — enough to have rescued the column twice over the years when the bean counters threatened to kill it off. For that outpouring of support, I will always be grateful.
“Alas, there aren’t enough of you in general these days. Readers, I mean. Not to mention advertisers.”
Read more here.