Happy Holidays, From The Boss

By SteveK 

mediabistro.com has put together its annual holiday video, featuring our founder Laurel Touby (replacing the usual boa for a Santa hat), Jupitermedia CEO Alan Meckler and more. Click the picture for the video:

And after the jump, Touby’s letter looking back at 2008. “Our network of blogs, now 13 strong, continues to ride the line between sassy, serious and news-breaking. TVNewser and FishbowlDC kept a close watch on how the media covered the presidential election; FishbowlNY and FishbowlLA continued to break news and bear witness to all the goings on in the two biggest media and entertainment markets in the U.S.,” she writes.

Click continued for the full letter…

It’s hard to believe another year has passed and we’re still kickin’. You may or may not know this, but mediabistro.com started in 1994 as an offline community of like-minded media folks who met for cocktails once a month. In 1996, I took the community online with a teensy little Web site, which grew into the full-fledged enterprise that exists today — featuring classes and seminars, conferences, original content, membership benefits, blogs and, of course, our beloved job board.

While I sold mediabistro.com to Jupitermedia in July 2007, I did so with the understanding that the new owners would give our growing (1.5 million unique visitors a month!) community the same love, attention and helpful service that we have always been known for. My boss, Alan Meckler, has not let me down. Jupitermedia has been investing in staff, infrastructure, and services that we could never have afforded on our own. More importantly, Alan has a pretty wry sense of humor… He’s hilarious in our holiday video.

But enough about us. Let’s talk about you. How are you feeling right now? Are you worried about your work prospects, about the state of the media industry, about the future of the economy as a whole? We’re here to help. We want you to succeed. You are the future of what’s bright and beautiful in the media.

So please read on to discover the latest offerings from mediabistro.com to help you with your career and, we truly hope, your peace of mind:

JOBS, jobs, jobs
While you may not see as many jobs from media conglomerates this year, there’s still plenty to choose from on the mediabistro.com job board. In 2008, there were 1,200 employers posting on mediabistro.com for the first time, with many smaller companies posting more jobs than they had in the past. Career growth and opportunity are out there, just not at the companies or along the career paths that you might expect.

We’ve launched new features to help lesser-known employers get noticed, including featured employer logos and highlighted listings. And now, if you click on the “company name” field in a listing (except for the confidential ones!), you’ll find a complete roster of openings from that employer. We encourage you to browse such openings — you might be the perfect fit for a job or media outlet you didn’t know existed.

By the way, unlike many job boards, each and every one of the jobs posted on mediabistro.com is a real opportunity. Even if it’s been up there a few weeks, that employer is hoping to receive your application. So, while volume may be down, the quality of the opportunities on the job board is as good as it’s ever been.

Continuing education continues
We’ve all been reading about the sea of change going on at media companies around the country. While the headlines may be frightening to those of us who’ve been in the business awhile, in the long run, change is good. New and different opportunities will appear at companies that are being dreamed up even as you read this. Those companies will need your media skills.

Your mission: Be prepared. Make 2009 the year of your own personal retooling. To accommodate your busy schedule, we’re offering more online classes than ever. Whether you want to start Reinventing Print Content for the Web or learn Online News Writing, we have more than 125 classes scheduled for early 2009 to help you learn new skills. Fans of instant gratification will love our new, one-day intensive courses, in On-Camera Media Training, Copy Editing, and Copywriting.

Good writing is always in demand, so our classic writing courses are going strong, including Memoir Writing and Boot Camp for Journalists. Timely new offerings include this year’s Financial Writing and the upcoming Environmental Writing.

For self-starters, we now offer subscriptions to Mediabistro On Demand, where you can access our entire Web video training library for targeted video tutorials on must-learn topics, such as “The Future of Social Media” and “How to Search Google Like a Pro.”

Extraordinary Events
In May, we launched our first “conference.” That word is soooo boring that we decided to call ours Mediabistro Circus. It explored the many ways technology is changing media. It was a huge and buzzy success, with hundreds of people from various walks of media exchanging ideas, swapping business cards, and listening to the gripping speeches given by great minds like Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson and New York Times digital news editor Jim Roberts.

This coming June 2-3, we’re unfurling the next Mediabistro Circus, which will focus on the Extraordinary Impact companies can make when they integrate technology and media.

But before that, we’re introducing our first TVNewser Summit on March 10, which will gather leading thinkers who are tackling the challenges of a new economy, new media, and the changing world of broadcast journalism.

To continue the conversation between these big events, we’ll be hosting forward-thinking panel discussions, each followed by after-parties where the panelists and fellow mediabistro-lovers mingle. And, as always, we will continue with our tradition of informal monthly cocktail parties in cities across the country, from Boston to Los Angeles.

Mediabistro.com has always been known for its killer “How to Pitch” series, with specific advice on how writers and PR pros can pitch stories to various pubs. We’ve beefed those up with increased coverage of all the online outlets now actively seeking freelance articles. This year, we’re adding more articles designed to help you with the practical matter of making more money. We’ll keep you collecting currency with “Follow the Money,” our newest series offering tips, tricks and guidance on how to spend and save as a media professional, while “What To Charge” keeps you apprised of what your media work is really worth (hint: more than you think!).

Speaking of careers, our how-to features are expanding to include even more career development advice, such as how social networks can provide concrete professional benefits, and ways media pros can retool their fundamental skills to score different types of gigs and diversify the types of jobs they seek and secure.

This year, we also launched “Hey How’d You Do That?” a selection of interviews that lasers in on how your media peers have gotten their dream projects and assignments off the ground. And, in 2008, we delivered the dish on more media-world luminaries than ever before, from George Stephanopoulos to Arianna Huffington to Andre Leon Talley. Our “So What Do You Do?” interviews reveal the inner workings of the media’s biggest, baddest and brightest.

Blogs and News
Our network of blogs, now 13 strong, continues to ride the line between sassy, serious and news-breaking. TVNewser and FishbowlDC kept a close watch on how the media covered the presidential election; FishbowlNY and FishbowlLA continued to break news and bear witness to all the goings on in the two biggest media and entertainment markets in the U.S. AgencySpy, GalleyCat, PRNewser, and UnBeige delivered the latest news and information from the advertising, publishing, public relations and design realms. And we launched four new blogs in the mobile space: MobileContentToday, MobileAppsToday, MobileDevicesToday and MobileMarketingToday, all of which serve the burgeoning markets of mobile developers, advertisers and consumers.

In 2009, we’re adding two new must-read blogs: WebNewser will chronicle the convergence of old and new media with breaking news and insights. As consumers continue to get more of their media on the Web, and developers usher in the next big thing, WebNewser will be well-positioned to explain all.

Our other new blog, MediaJobsDaily will provide media industry employers and job seekers with up-to-date information, tools and leads. As the very nature of working in media continues to evolve, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to take your career to new heights.

A Growing Community
Our AvantGuild community continues to grow, to nearly 14,000 paid members, which tells me people recognize that the benefits, discounts and information AvantGuild offers remain a smart investment — especially in a difficult economy. According to a recent survey we conducted, more than 80 percent of AvantGuild members said they were satisfied with their membership and would recommend it to others. We will continue to add new benefits, discounts and services to make sure our community is getting the very best assistance they can from us.

Freelancers Rule!
In an effort to reach out to freelancers being buffeted by the economy, two months ago we launched a new feature on our Freelance Marketplace: a FREE Trial for 30 days (for newbie FM members)! If you’re a freelancer, it’s essential to have a presence where you know employers are looking. Freelance Marketplace is that place, with more than 100,000 employers from major media companies — including The New York Times, Fox News, Bloomberg, Viacom and Meredith — searching our database of freelancers every day. If you’d like to be there when they come looking, give the Marketplace a try. You’ve got nothing to lose!

Get Satisfaction
The best ideas for new community services come from the members themselves. That’s why we’ve opened up a conversation on Get Satisfaction, where our members can post ideas they have for AvantGuild, Freelance Marketplace, courses, or anything else on the site.

We’ve also become a powerhouse on Twitter, distributing knowledge on the intersection of media and technology and engaging with 5,000 mediabistro.com members in real time. Follow us on Twitter.com and join the fun!

Advertising — Yes! We Take Advertising!
This year, our advertising and sales team has been busier than ever. Basically, if you see it, we’ll sell it. Just kidding. But, not really. Talk to us and we’ll come up with a great package to help you reach the media community – the unparalleled group of tastemakers and influencers for whom mediabistro.com is a must-read, a must-visit and a must-engage every single day.

With us, advertising is not just about banners – it’s about meeting our 1.5 million media members in all the ways we touch their lives — via newsletters, events, sponsored parties and of course video. Some of our happy advertising customers this year have included: Random House, Columbia University, NYU, Six Apart, and CNN.

Find out why your competition is advertising on mediabistro.com, and join the fun — contact our sales department to learn more!

If you’ve read this far down, you’re a trooper. Thanks for that. Feel free to email me personally, anytime, to offer suggestions, criticisms — and of course, kudos are always welcome!

Love and hugs,