Category Archives: Media

Bloggers Want Press Access

Republicans and Democrats are wondering what to do with bloggers for their upcoming national conventions. Bloggers are applying for press credentials in hopes of covering the events in ways the mainstream media can’t or won’t. The two major parties have yet to decide whether to allow a select few bloggers, all bloggers, or no bloggers.

“This is a real landmark for the legitimacy of the blogger and a testament to their growing influence,” said Jonathan Dube, who blogs about online journalism. “[But] that doesn’t necessarily make them mainstream, simply because not enough people are reading them right now.”

957 Pages in 24 Hours?

My Life by Bill ClintonSlate questions the value and plausability of reviewing a mammoth book like Bill Clinton’s 957-page My Life in time for the 24-hour news cycle. Publisher Alfred A. Knopf denied reporters a copy of the book before its official release on June 22. Several papers ran reviews in the next 24-48 hours, though not every reviewer actually read the book. Seems more akin to elementary school book reports than professional book reviews.

CD Prices Falling?

Don’t tell anyone, but CD prices are starting to fall — in some cases dramatically. Best Buy is selling the new Spider-Man 2 soundtrack for $8.99 this week. They have Breaking Benjamin for $6.99. Target does too, as well as The Killers for $6.99, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for $6.98 and Ozmatli for $5.98. Franz Ferdinand and Modest Mouse have both seen their latest releases in the $8.99-$9.99 range.

The drastically reduced prices seem to be short-term sales, most likely instigated by record companies, designed to boost sales and exposure. Though good luck finding anyone talking about it. There’s plenty of news about Universal’s 5 percent price drop (though apparently some retailers are keeping prices high and pocketing the difference), as well as the recent price fixing lawsuit accounting for a minor price rollback. But most of those stories have to do with regular CD prices, lowering stickers from $15.99 to $13.99. Nobody’s talking about these 44 percent price dives.

And maybe they should. CD sales in the first half of 2004 were up 7 percent over 2003. Prices under $10 prompt impulse buys. It worked for me: I bought the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack solely on the merits of Dashboard Confessional’s “Vindicated.”

F*@#n’ Brilliant

Vice President Dick CheneyVice President Dick Cheney dropped the f-bomb on Tuesday in an exchange with Senator Patrick Leahy.

“I felt better afterward,” Cheney told FoxNews, explaining that he doesn’t normally use such language.

“I think he was just having a bad day,” Leahy later told the media.

The unexpected profanity on the Senate floor has caused commotion in the media as editors try to decide which glyphs should replace the actual profanity.

The Sun Times went with “f—” in its article, but not its headline (“VP has no f***n’ patience for senator”). The Kansas City Star went with headline “Says the veep to the senator,

Relevant Magazine

Relevant MagazineCameron Strang is a well disguised evangelist who drives an Audi and runs a company with $1.8 million in revenue last year, according to USA Today. The national paper ran a feature on Relevant Media Group today, citing the company’s success with books, a web site, and the flagship magazine.

The piece mentions some of Relevant’s edgier run-ins with the evangelical elite, including a consumer guide to Jesus action figures in the first issue that got the magazine banned from the bookstore at Oral Roberts University (Strang’s alma mater). It also recounts Matthew Turner’s run as editor at CCM magazine before being ousted “when he mixed in secular language and subjects — even hinted that a singer was sexy.” Relevant recently published The Christian Culture Survival Guide by Turner.

The $1.8 million in revenue is mentioned, as well as a new 5,000-square-foot redesigned warehouse as office. What’s not mentioned is the shadowy connection between Relevant Media and Strang Communications, Cameron’s father’s media empire that some rumors say has been giving Relevant free rent and a free ride. Peddling to twenty-somethings may not be as easy as USA Today makes it sound.

But skeletons aside, Relevant has been doing ground-breaking work and this is one more example of the lavish attention they’re receiving from the mainstream press. What other Christian magazines are generating this kind of attention?

Register to Read

The backlash against web sites requiring free registration to access content has begun. is providing user names and passwords to such free registration sites so users can avoid giving our their personal information. Since many sites use registration to obtain demographics which then allow them to lure advertisers and pay the bills, some are questioning the morality (see the comments) of bypassing registration.

When a site offers content in exchange for demographic information, is it stealing to not give them that demographic information? Is that sort of agreement actually in effect? Is it lying to use someone else’s user name and password to access content? Or is this simply payback for the inevitable way registration leads to spam? leaves the moral ball in your court, though they give plenty of rationale and, interestingly, don’t seem to be profiting from the venture (no ads, don’t accept donations, etc.).

Editor Gunned Down

Gunmen ambushed and killed an editor with the Mexican weekly, Zeta, in front of his two children. Francisco Ortiz Franco died on the scene. The Zeta is well known for investigating the narcotics industry in Tijuana. This is the third attack on Zeta employees since 1988 when the paper’s cofounder was killed. In 1997 the paper’s publisher was ambushed and badly wounded.

The Blog Baron

Nick DentonIn “How Can I Sex Up This Blog Business”, Wired profiles blog baron Nick Denton, the man behind New York’s Gawker, DC’s Wonkette, and the technogadget Gizmodo, among other blogs, as well as the blog aggregate Kinja.

Despite the hype, the blog empire isn’t likely to attempt a buy-out of Disney any time soon. According to Wired, Denton pays his writers approximately $2,000 a month on a contract basis, has the potential for $5,000-10,000 per month in ads for a total per blog annual net of $80,000. It’s not chump change, but it’s not media mogul sums either.