Folio 2006: Wanted: New Yorker Best-Sellers; Not Wanted: Slutty Wh*re


Folio editor & publisher Tony Silber moderates a panel with [from left] Adam Bly, Lockhart Steele, Jeff Jarvis and Jonathan Weber

Jeff Jarvis was on yet another panel about citizen journalism, only he doesn’t call it citizen journalism anymore because he’s gotten complaints from journalists that they’re citizens, too, damnit. “My new haughty-ism is ‘networked journalism,'” he said, at the Folio Show sitting with Seed Media group’s Adam Bly, NewWest‘s Jonathan Weber and Gawker Media’s Lockhart Steele, who dashed out of the room after the panel — to get a haircut, we’re told — before we could try to say “hi” and collect the lunch he owes us.

But not before he did get in a mention of Glamour magazine pulling uers comments from an “experiment” with letting them do fashion critique after they (shockingly!) gave encouraging missives like “God, what a slutty whore,” he said. “Sure enough, it turns into a PR disaster,” when big bad glossies try to experiment with the whole user-generated content thing. They pulled it down about three days ago, he said. “Anyone who creates good editorial for a living knows creating good editorial is hard,” said Steele, who is Gawker’s managing editor.

Everyone on the panel was boisterously approving of how you, as a media company, have to assemble or at least link to the blogs out there on your topic — be it wood-working or Bly’s specialty, science. Jarvis said a media company can offer those bloggers ads, and then offer advertisers that audience — and that’s the answer to instead being terrified of the bloggers who can, with their powerful niches, pick off juicy pieces of your audience, and ad revenue.

Magazines, too, have to stop “lecturing” readers, and instead be part of the conversation, Jarvis said, after he was calm enough (he was very worried, when we told him he’d left his coat in the lunchroom, but we went and got it for him).

“The challenge now is to find out what they know as well, and to get them to talk to each other and to be at the center of that, and that’s the opportunity we have on line and we so often miss. In print we’re so used to lecturing, publishing a product, distributing it and thinking like that, whereas in blogs you have a chance to have a relationship with this crowd that’s gathered around the same things you like.

“If I could read the bestsellers among just New Yorker readers I would find it more valuable than The New York Times’ best-seller list.”

Weber, meanwhile, took a dig at newspaper journalism: They’re “so caught up in their own formulas that they can’t just say something” in a normal way, instead of inverted pyramid, blah-blah-blah. And magazines, sheesh! It took six people and five proofs over two weeks for a column he wrote that was not changed enough to “justify the amount of time” and resources.


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