Getting down to brass tacks

PaidContent recently ran a column dealing with the fate and future of the two Hollywood trade magazines, a column that got some interesting reactions, including one comment that has now been highlighted in a post of its own and which has me all sorts of jealous that I didn’t write it myself.

The key bit:

You are Variety. A great name. So where is the braintrust to kick everyone’s ass? Where’s the same attitude of the people you cover. The creativity. The work-at-all-hours people. The idea people.

And I don’t mean a Web redesign. And hiring an ex-LAT staffer whose job, by the way, isn’t to produce copy – is that what they REALLY need right now—ANOTHER editor? Where’s the new Mike Fleming? The new young columnist? The new hot get? Where are the stars? And hiring a guy from Philadelphia (?) to run the site doesn’t count.

Have you all sat in a room, looked at each other and said, “This isn’t working…let’s go get us people who can kick ass.” And I don’t mean by typing fast. Or giving orders. Or having good meetings. Or being a nice person. I mean…who can change the game?

If there’s one failing I think is common throughout the media world, it’s that no one thought in 2004 that, instead of fighting The Blogs, they needed to bring them in and get them work in-house. Five years ago any newspaper or magazine could have hired any number of blog writers pretty cheaply to write for them, on their site. Newspapers could have gotten anyone in the regional area to come in-house, trade pubs could have gotten writers interested in their industries to write blogs for them. And all of that could have been done for not a ton of money – probably something just above a decent cut of the ad revenue from those pages – and with no significant outlaying of resources.