Thursday, 6 March 2008

Off the news or on the news

CNN has bounced back to life, it is reported in today's International Herald Tribune.

They did this through getting away from off-the-news chat (comme chez Renard) to hard news (and indeed business and editorial departments going off together for luxury retreats, working on some Exxon op-ed space perhaps).

Does this mean newspapers need to get "off-the-news"?

I think not. Print can't compete in a 24 news cycle when you are constantly 24 hours behind, so leave that to CNN and indeed, get off your proverbial (but not like Fox) and off-the-news.

Unless you are scooping it.

Exxon Op-Ed

There was a time when, if an oil company wanted to place a quarter page advert on the op-ed pages, with copy that looked like an article and was upfront enough to even admit that it was "donating this week's op-ed pace" to someone, then, well, someone at the International Herald Tribune would stick the word ADVERTISMENT above the quarter page.

With record profits, Exxon is now in the business of donating (not buying) op-ed space.

Why not just buy the paper.

(There's a thought.)

You read it here first...

Think! thoughts on the WSJ coming to life....

Monday, 3 March 2008

The T Party

Just in case you weren't invited, a few words on the party hosted Sunday 24th Feb in Paris in a place I seem to remember going to in order to celebrate, bury or cry at the departure of some IHT big-shot.

Terrible not to remember who; I think it was Mike Getler, editor prior to Oreskes-Wells-Ignatious. The then publisher gave him a gift of quite staggering ugliness. But that was then. Now we are in the era of Naked Ambition.

Champagne flowed and the main idea was to get Suzy Menkes to stand in a receiving line so that she could be photographed with as many celebs as possible. These included the likes of Karl-the bloke-from-Chanel and Jarvis Cocker of Blur (is that right?) and lots of other people it would be pointless to list. By the end of the night Suzy was rather tired. But SDJ was there looking very T, so all was well.

If I remember rightly from what I was told, Mr. Oreskes wasn't there.

A person on the inside suggested I gatecrash - I was in Paris - and had quite a canny plan for throwing their invite down from the balcony and then me using their name if their name wasn't checked-off on a guest list on their entry, information that would be deviously communicated by devices known as mobile phones or voice boxes - that is to say shouting to me.

Their name wasn't checked and the plan would have worked very smoothly but I wasn't sure that, after my T letter, I would have been very welcome. So I stayed home and read a book.

Anyway, despite all the champagne and photos, word is that Suzy isn't very keen on T's content.


Might the IHT consider letting the IHT's internationally famous fashion editor actually edit the IHT's own fashion magazine?

Stranger things have happened at sea.

It was interesting to note that Alice Rawsthorn's design column, immediately after the T Naked Ambition Edition and party, turned her attention to how simple design can aid poor farmers in the developing world.


NB Note to editors.

No room I see for this more recent article on the style home page for Alice's article on how design can help 800 million other people in the world who live on less than $1 a day. Instead IHT readers are referred to the following articles by Alice.

Furniture designed by architects: Pricey, impractical and very desirable
Helping the mind to cope with novelty and overload
Easier voting through graphic design

Poverty is very IHT, but apparently not very stylish.

Note to self:
  • silly, student, bitchy tone surfacing the moment I write a post to this blog.
  • must make amends.

Think! is Linked!

OK, do we need to revisit the abandonment of Think!?

The International Herald Tribune's (excellent) developers' blog has quietly linked this blog to their own.

What would happen if they took the plunge and gave Think! some higher visibility on

My guess is that they would quickly get more visitors and comments to Think! than any of their own reader discussion groups or bloggers, a thought I had when I was reading about the Walmart blog at

a) Genuinely free of corporate censorship.
b) If readers are motivated to write about an IHT story on the IHT website, my instinct tells me they are interested in the IHT itself. (Indeed if the IHT's Developer blog had a little higher visibility it might get some more comments itself - by my rough count about 25-odd since they began last September, quite a number of them from what one might broadly describe as friends and family including themselves.)

If you read the IHT's Developer Blog one thing they admit is that the people who post comments are extremely SMALL in number (but naturally important).

If you analyse the people who write letters to the IHT (and which are published), it is not uncommon to find people who have had 6-7 letters published in a six month period which doesn't say much for core readership (or their engagement in public discourse).

So I think it's fair to say that the IHT's core readership remains either:

a) small
b) unengaged - with the IHT and the topics it covers
c) unable to find a place that they feel they can and want to participate in a broader IHT reader community, certainly on

I have my well-known views on point 'a'; I doubt it's 'b' because, after all, they are reading the paper or the website and an IHT reader is almost by definition engaged in the wider world.

So that leaves us with 'c' which may be why point 'a' remains valid.

I would challenge to review their hidden away link to their own blog and this one, and seriously upgrade their visibility. The results might make for an interesting article.