FishbowlNY sent Amanda ReCupido to NYU’s Center for Publishing last night to cover David Carr‘s panel discussion on “The Art of the Media Launch” with Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post), Susan Lyne (Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia), Craig Newmark (craigslist.org) and Laurel Touby (mediabistro.com). Below, ReCupido reports on highlights from the event:
Carr tipped his hat to the evening’s speakers: “This truly is a stellar panel. We’ll be trading brand names like bon-bons.” And trade they did. Lyne described working at Martha Stewart as akin to “being in a laboratory,” given its structure and how many resources it has to create new business. Carr’s snappy term for what Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia does? “The black arts of domestic excellence.”
Huffington reminisced about her site’s launch day, which she referred to as one of her lowest moments (one reviewer likened her site to the internet equivalent of Gigli), and stressed that you can’t let bad reviews get you down. But it got better: According to Huffington, “I had an ‘aha!’ moment when I realized that I didn’t need big names writing. It was then that I was able to create a platform for interesting voices,” she said.
“I tried to avoid an ‘aha!’ moment as much as possible,” Newmark joked in response. “I’m still not convinced that craiglist.org is a media site, but I’ll take any definition anyone has to offer.” Newmark’s nonchalant manner almost made us forget that craigslist.org sees over 8 billion page views a month. Not bad at all, especially considering that he still has difficulty defining exactly what it is.
We cheered Touby on as she explained how mediabistro.com grew from the power of the people. In response to Carr’s question, “How do you [deal with] the naysayers?” she responded: “To have a successful launch, you have to have tremendous passion, the desire to serve your audience, and a strong customer base. I can’t have some ‘Gawker chick’ detract from what I’m doing.”
Huffington stressed the point of constant reinvention: “You must always keep evolving… Once you start thinking, “This is it,” that’s when you’ve died.” The panelists agreed that linking to other sites is a a damn good thing as well. As Huffington remarked, “I knew I had made it when The Huffington Post was linked on PerezHilton.com.”
Carr asked each of the panelists to mention the last gadget they purchased. For Huffington, it was a third Blackberry. “I now have a Cingular, a Verizon, and a T-Mobile, for when the others go out,” she said. And as for Touby: “I just bought a digital recorder so that I can talk about things with myself,” she laughed. Sounds more entertaining than keeping up with three Blackberrys anyways.