Fred and Barney meet

Two groups of media’s moneymen held their confabs this week and they each spent some time self-flaggellating, as well they should.

The Times reports from the American Association of Advertising Agencies:

“I think our industry would be better if agencies were as comfortable with change as we like to tell clients they should be,” said Ron Berger, chief executive and chief creative officer for the New York and San Francisco offices of Euro RSCG Worldwide, part of Havas.

“I think our industry would be better if all of the people who speak at industry functions and say ‘It’s all about big ideas’ actually had a few” …

And Jon Fine reports in Business Week on the meeting of the Newspaper Association of America:

This year’s opening event was at the magnificent Field Museum, on a large open floor bookended by two massive dinosaur skeletons. Many attendees joked about this. To the executive to whom I said such an obvious metaphor would never, ever, appear in this column: I lied….

At the podium, Jay R. Smith, Cox Newspapers’ president and outgoing NAA chairman, gives a valedictory with the broad theme of “stop whining.” It begins with and repeatedly uses the phrase, “It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this.” He also says: “The world changed a lot. Newspapers changed a little.” …

And Washington Post Publisher Donald Graham tells the group when discussing newspaper strategy that “the only honest answer is we don’t know how our future will work out.”

OK, let the flaggellating end. Let the overdue strategizing finally begin. The time for mourning the past is long over. The time for shrugging at the future is over, too. You no longer get points for admitting that you’re in a mess. You only get points for taking brave action to get out of it.

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  • http://ruthcalvo ruth

    That’s a hilarious image of the dinos framing the newspaper assn’s meeting. Advertizing was paying entirely for the local papers that were delivered free in my area, when I lived in Montgomery Co., MD – and that looks like the prospect of the future for newspapers as a whole.

  • qcontent

    Who knew? Get what you can, while you can. Let someone else worry about it. Martini, dry, with an olive.

  • http://www.migukin.com Shelton Bumgarner

    I have a name for what is going to come “next” after traditional mainstream media — boutique media. All media will be produced by individuals or small groups of people with a talent for one specific thing. All existing forms of Big Media will either vanish or be dramatically re-imagined. It’s going to get pretty scary there for a few years for newspapers, but something that we still call “a newspaper” (even if there is no “paper” involved” will still be around at the end of the process.

  • Jamie

    I would love to sign up for Stuart Elliott’s newsletter. Does anyone know how to do that?