Timing is such a key element to virtually everything we do in life. The network that holds out too long for a bigger increase in the marketplace stands to miss out on hundreds of millions of dollars in the upfront. Considering it’s World Cup time (thank you, Switzerland, for giving us football fans a real upset in this first round), the winger who breaks just at the right moment to trap the feed from the midfielder and score might have missed the chance had he stepped a second earlier or later.
And so it is that, after 17 years and change with Mediaweek, I believe this is the right time to move on to new challenges. I’ve worked here for most of my adult life, and it’s here, with an ever-changing but always stable and supportive staff, that I came into my own as a journalist, writer and editor.
Mediaweek has changed over the years, mainly because the mechanisms of the journalism business have been irrevocably altered. When I started in 1993, no one on our staff had even heard of the Internet, and yet only two years later we were discovering nascent Web sites and wasting time in AOL’s early chat rooms. Today, any journalistic enterprise that doesn’t have a robust digital strategy is guaranteed to be roadkill within months. I’m proud to say that our Web site Mediaweek.com has grown from a repository for print stories when it launched in 1999 to a vibrant destination featuring dozens of late-breaking news every day.
We’ve also got video offerings, our blog MediaFreak, podcasts and data—as well as the best television analyst in the business, Marc Berman, our own Programming Insider and author of this magazine’s endpage, Mr. TV.
Clearly the onset of blogs has changed the tone and nature of a lot of what passes for journalism these days. Snark, attitude and gossip seem, in many places, to trump accuracy and fairness, a reality that saddens and frustrates me as a professional, since it’s often rewarded either by Web traffic or ad support. I firmly believe it is a passing phase. Blogs, no doubt, are here to stay. But there will come a day when careful, objective reporting and deep knowledge of one’s beat will again be valued—and supported by advertisers.
To all you advertisers who have supported Mediaweek over the years, I sincerely thank you and hope we helped you achieve your goals. To all you advertisers that have walked away from supporting quality editorial operations, shame on you. Clearly you expect to be treated fairly by reporters everywhere, and whine and moan when you’re not. And yet you didn’t support us in our endeavors to cover you fairly and accurately. Good journalism doesn’t come free. Fact-free opinion and rhetoric do.
Know that Mediaweek—and AdweekMedia, for as long as it remains that under new leadership—will adhere to the classic principles of editorial responsibility under the guiding hand of my longtime executive editor, Jim Cooper, whose unwavering commitment to doing it right is matched by his desire to tell stories in fresh new ways.
This brand started in 1991 by founders Bill Gloede and Craig Reiss, who correctly foresaw the growing importance of the media department in the agency business. Nearly 20 years later, media agencies stand at the heart of most agency conglomerates. The business is changing at a pace faster than even most agencies can maintain. But I fervently believe the core media agency will always have a vital role in the communications square formed by media, agency, client and consumer. It’s been a hell of a ride covering it and being part of this business. Thanks, I had a great time.