It was bad enough when Parade President Randy Siegel’s damaging defamation of me ran in Editor & Publisher and on his newspaper trade group blog, but now he has been spreading it to newspapers from the Chicago Tribune to the Philadelphia Inquirer. I am going to ask those who ran it to add my comment in response:
Mr. Siegel does not reveal much in his piece. He does not reveal that he and I did not just “meet,” but that I worked at his parent company, Advance Publications, for almost a dozen years as president and creative director of its online arm. He does not reveal that while there, I attempted to give his magazine, Parade, advice on the internet, at his request. He does not reveal that Parade was a client of Daylife, a company in which I am a partner, but I did not bring Daylife to Parade. He is certainly less than forthcoming about his own motives, as he sells a product to an industry that is dying; every time a newspaper goes out of print or has to cut back unnecessary expenses, he suffers. Mr. Seigel says I have a lucrative consulting business. In truth, I make far less than I did when I worked for his company because I wanted to teach journalism and help my students advance the craft in the new age. Believe me, the motive to teach is not money. Finally, my supposedly lucrative consulting business has only one client today: Advance, Mr. Siegel’s parent company, where I have been advising on the changes they are making in Ann Arbor market as they create a new journalistic company there.
I also had refrained from comment on the pathetic and defensive attempt of the group Siegel started to whistle in the graveyard and argue that newspapers are fine, just fine. Like the World Association of Newspapers, they keep arguing that paper is good rather than getting their news ready for the next era; they failed at that. Keep in mind that without newspapers, Siegel has no distribution for his “magazine.”
Rather than creating a new future for news, this group creates ads and blog posts defending the past. This is why papers have no future. I don’t have a “crusade against newspapers,” Mr. Siegel. I teach journalism because I know that journalism has a future. I’m working on the new business models for news project because I believe it is vital to find new means to sustain journalism. If I have a crusade, it’s that. You may prefer to see it as a crusde against the clueless print executives who are the reason newspapers are dying.