Monument Circle, Downtown Indianapolis

Monument Circle

Also Friday:

Drink’s at Don Shula’s at the hotel

Dinner at St. Elmo’s downtown

A trip to Luna Music for vinyl, CDs

Greetings From the Road

Summer Conference

Greetings from the road! We’re traveling today to sunny Indianapolis for the annual summer conference of the Alliance of Area Business Publications.

Once again, we expect this meeting of editors and publishers to focus heavily on the Internet, including reporting for it, staffing it and selling it. As niche publications, business newspapers and magazines enjoy major opportunities online and, on the whole, don’t face the tough economics that daily newspapers are struggling with. But we face some of the same challenges, particularly as we try to staff for print and online editorial operations and, of course, make a buck through ad sales and sponsorships.

During the conference, I’ll be on a panel about successful online products. And there will be other sessions on staffing the Web and search engine optimization.

Also: Indianapolis! Home of the NCAA, the Pacers and a certain annual auto race. Got any tips of what to do or where to eat? Let me know in comments. This is my first trip.

More posts on sessions, along with photos and hopefully video, later this week.

Rolling Stone, the McChrystal Story and the Web

Rolling Stone

The McChrystal piece, as it finally appeared on RS' Web site.

For the first time in maybe a generation, Rolling Stone has published a series of relevant, well-reported news stories and gripping analysis pieces. Matt Taibbi’s searing series on the Wall Street bailout and Goldman Sachs comes to mind, as well as Tim Dickinson’s recent report on the Obama administration and the BP oil spill.

And of course the latest is Michael Hastings’ profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, which is focusing new (and necessary) attention on the war in Afghanistan and might very well cost the general his job. (We’ll know the outcome of that storyline later today. Now we know: McChrystal out, Petraeus in.)

Too bad RS doesn’t know how to handle all this newfound relevance on the Web!

As I noted on the comments board today at Blake’s Think Tank:

The bigger story here? Rolling Stone, relevant again! The latest in a string of stories — including Matt Taibbi’s series on Wall Street and Goldman Sachs — that has made real waves.

Interestingly, RS appeared unprepared for the type of attention the story would generate. The feature wasn’t on its Web site until today (or maybe late yesterday), and only after Politico posted a PDF of the spread, which has yet to hit newsstands. (Politico eventually took it down after RS complained.)

That’s right: When the “story about the story” broke early Tuesday morning, you couldn’t find the RS piece on its Web site. In fact, most people read about it first in accounts by The Washington Post (linked to by Drudge) or — amazingly — in a PDF of the RS spread hosted and tweeted by Politico.

Like many legacy media companies, Jann Wenner’s Rolling Stone has had an awkward go of it in the transition to digital. Primarily a music magazine, Rolling Stone’s Web site hasn’t kept up with how music has flourished online — sites like Pitchfork, Idolator, Stereogum and dozens of others have become the go-to destinations for music news, reviews and downloads. The latest iteration of its Web site,, doesn’t get it much closer.

And this week, RS and its staff missed a huge opportunity to capitalize on the buzz its editors should have known the McChrystal piece would generate. By the time RS finally posted the story to its site late yesterday, most people had likely read the Politico PDF or, worse, felt they had gotten enough about it in the countless summaries and news reports.

And now that the story is posted, the press and readers have moved on to the next part of the narrative: McChrystal’s meeting with Obama and his fate as general. Will RS follow up on what its story hath wrought? They say they will. But they haven’t yet. Clock’s ticking!

Meanwhile, writer Michael Hastings has been making the media rounds, answer all kinds of questions about the story — how he reported it, the access he had, what he thinks about its reception. Why hasn’t Rolling Stone done this? Why haven’t they owned all parts of this story?

As Talking Points Memo notes, Rolling Stone squandered a huge opportunity with this story. Hopefully its editors learn from their mistakes, and we’ll refrain from using the “gathers no moss” cliché.


Michael Calderone, now writing for Yahoo!, has an assessment of RS and the news cycle here.

The Nieman Journalism Lab on how Rolling Stone’s late start on its own story cost it comments, reader interaction. (Thanks Emily!)

Campaigns Jump on the Mobile App Bandwagon

Dan Rutherford iPhone app

Dan Rutherford, Illinois Republican candidate for state treasurer, will point at you via his iPhone app.

Mobile apps! Everybody’s got one, most likely including your local politico seeking higher office.

The Associated Press drops this feature today on “iCampaigning,” where already incessantly social candidates — not content with Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Flickr, YouTube and more — are creating their own iPhone and Android applications to pester you with even more talking points, news releases and other propaganda. This makes them look “cool” and “with it”!

Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who’s running to be the Democratic nominee for governor, has an app that lets people follow her calendar, read news releases, familiarize themselves with her background and make campaign contributions.

“It shows that our campaign is a modern campaign,” said Kelliher spokesman Matt Swenson. “We’re connecting with people where they are right now through the phones in the palms of their hands.”

These apps are a good idea, particularly if you like spending lots of money! Our recent Arkansas Business cover story on app development here in Arkansas suggests that, while you could spend thousands of dollars developing apps for multiple platforms, you could also design one mobile-friendly Web site that everyone can easily access, no matter what device they use:

“For us, the determining factor is will this application help [a user] have easier access to discounts of a particular product or service? Is it location-based?” said Bryan Jones, the director of interactive services at Little Rock creative firm Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods. “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something.”

Many apps are free; marketers reason that building a tool that you’ll download is a way to keep a brand at the top of your mind and the front of your phone. But marketing and tech agencies are pushing many clients to invest in making their websites mobile-friendly before rushing to invest in apps.

“There’s a lot of technology out there that’s called an app when it’s really just a mobile interface,” said Marla Johnson Norris, the CEO of Artistotle Inc., an interactive marketing company in Little Rock. “The more things your mobile application is going to do, the more it costs.”


AP’s story on campaign apps, here.

Arkansas Business’ app cover story, here.

Also available to politicos: YouTube, which has set up a campaign toolkit for candidates.

This Week in Arkansas Business: Education Department to Seek More Scholarship Money

This week in Arkansas Business:

At the rate Arkansas is awarding college scholarships, money in the Arkansas Department of Higher Education’s reserve fund will run out by 2013. So director Jim Purcell says he’ll ask the Legislature this January to provide more money for scholarships or allow the department to cut the number awarded.

Meanwhile, the DHE is investigating how schools waive out-of-state tuition for certain students.

The latest list of the state’s top colleges and universities shows tuition up at most Arkansas schools.

The Log Cabin Democrat in Conway lays off two staffers, leaving a newsroom of six, in the aftermath of parent company Morris Publishing Group’s emergence from bankruptcy.

Go Red Wolves! This Arkansas State University graduate is now a VP at Verizon.

Happy Father’s Day

One Number Dad!

One Number Dad!

Goodbye Glenmere

It’s been 6 years, but now it’s time to move on. We’ve sold our house on Glenmere in Lakewood.

Where to now? Good question! We sold it in less then a month — closed on the sale two weeks from when we got an offer. So Laura and I are just a little shell-shocked. We’ve packed most our stuff in storage and have found temporary digs until we find a permanent spot to put down roots. Forgive us if we seems a little scattered, distracted or ill-at-ease. We’re still getting our bearings.

How’s the housing market? It’s been good to us so far. And interest rates look nice for our eventual purchase. There seems to be lots of fairly priced homes in the places we’ve been looking. Good news: All that stands between us and a new place are our own decisions about exactly what it is we’re looking for. Bad news: My wife and I are notoriously indecisive!

While we make up our minds, let’s take a look back at our many misadventures in what was our first house. So long, Glenmere. It’s been great.

More video, photos after the jump.

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