Donny and Mike
: The self-referential media world is buzzing about Michael Wolff, New York Magazine media columnist and pet bulldog, joining up with ad bad boy Donny Deutsch to try to buy the publication.
I’d die to attend their staff meetings.
I ran into Donny during the launch of Entertainment Weekly, when he and his agency handled our trade advertising. There were the usual agency pitch meetings (in the days before PowerPoint and Flash) with a small platoon of adheads and presentation boards aplenty.
Then came Donny. He interrupted the proceedings to shout about the magazine: “This is the best f’ing idea I’ve ever heard…. This is f’ing great.” He f’ed his way into the contract. I still have buttons, cocktail napkins, posters and more with the slogan he created. (Time Inc. got my magazine. I got souvenirs. Maybe I should sell them on eBay.)
About that time, he got the Ikea business and as we sat in my office, I pointed to something I’d gotten there and then proceeded to admit that I was so impressed with Ikea’s worldview that I ended up going to Sweden on vacation and I named — with the silly names — all the cheap furniture I’d just bought from Ikea for my new house. I was an Ikea stalker. I thought Donny should be impressed. Instead, he shook his head and said, “You are seriously f’ing disturbed!”
Donny — like Michael — has always rubbed some people the wrong way, but I liked him and his bluntness. And he has proven to be a marketing genius. Can he be a media genius? Maybe. Last year at the FourSquare conference (where he and Wolff shared the stage), he said that advertising has to invent new forms to be discovered. He bragged about making musical stars with his car commercials; he was jealous of BMW’s online car movies.
Whether it’s New York or not, it would be fun to watch Deutsch — even more than Wolff — run a media enterprise. He’d surely find new ways to market the product to readers and advertisers and he’d find new ways for them to market inside the product. It’d be f’ing entertaining.
Conflict o’ interest
: The Guardian has an excerpt from Michael Moore’s latest book (his stupid seven questions for George Bush) and an interview and a headline that calls the book “brilliant” and even created a special Michael Moore page for those who just can’t get enough of the man who can’t get enough of himself. No surprise there.
But what shocks me is that the paper then turns around and flacks for Moore commercially, promoting a give-away of Michael Moore prizes — no, not a diet book but a ticket to a Moore appearance (oh, joy) or one of his books or tapes. This strikes me as unseemly. Should the L.A. Times be giving away Arnold Schwarzenegger DVDs? Should the New York Times be raffling off a date with Monica Lewinsky? Should the Guardian be using its editorial space in print and online to shill for the products of someone who is, a column-inch away, being interviewed as a news subject.
In a word: No. Tsk, tsk.
: In the interview, Moore says he’s trying hard to recruit Oprah to head the Green Party presidential ticket in 2004.
Only if Dr. Phil will be her running mate.
: I was going to invest the sweat and effort in fisking Moore’s seven questions but Tim Blair did a much better job of it than I would have.
Toys for peace
: There’s now a beautiful site telling you how to give toys to children in Iraq via Chief Wiggles, who also promises one-stop-shopping soon.
Cut the yeast
: Oliver Willis cautions that blogs don’t cure cancer.
Chicago wi-fi hotels
: Fellow connectivity-addicted travelers, who can recommend a Chicago hotel with high-speed access in rooms that’s convenient to Evanston for the Online News Association confab I’m attending? They put it in a hotel without Internet access; the Hilton in town doesn’t have it yet and then there’s the vast North Side, which has changed since I left town, oh, 25 years ago.
: As I said in the post below, NYTimes.com Editor-in-Chief Len Apcar came to Bloggercon to learn about weblogging but he got a fringe benefit: good PR. Besides Jay Rosen‘s post, see Glenn Reynolds’ praise for “the best overall newspaper on the Web,” and Chris Lydon’s interview with Len.
Meet the future
: Len Apcar, editor-in-chief of NYTimes.com (and, it so happens, a college classmate of mine for a year) came to Bloggercon “to get an idea how we can do this.” Jay Rosen chronicles his education by panel. I take my hat off to Len and the Time for coming and learning from real bloggers.
On the other hand, my current whipping boy, the Online News Association, invited known editors who happen to blog to its upcoming funfest when, instead, they should have invited the bloggers who never worked in the business, who hold the business in disdain and say so; they should have invited the “enemy” — no, they should have invited the future. (That’s just one of the obnoxious things I plan to say when I’m on a blogging panel there). Or more of them could have shown up at Bloggercon; we should have seen people there from TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers.
I’ll admit to the sin of pride in my personal relationship to big media and nanomedia; I happen to live in both worlds, wear both hats; I am a media bigamist. It’s a wonderful perch from which to watch the revolution in populist media.
Usually, when I show up at such gatherings, I’m there as big media boy. Here, I was nanoman; few knew my other life and fewer cared. I was there as a blogger.
Phil Donahue moments
: Not that you should care, but here are my questions and notes before the session we had on presidential politics and blogging. I tried to Phil-Donahue it and ask lots of people lots of questions because, as Winer, said, this was not a panel (or it was a panel and everyone was panelists). It was fun; hope I did a decent job. The only problem with standing up front the whole time is that I couldn’t blog or take notes so I’ll leave it to others.