Saturday, April 22, 2006

Yes, Erin McKean, and Lauren Rich Fine

Oh, look at that, it's 2:45 a.m.; it appears I've spent all night talking to so many great people, some I've known for years and some I've just met. The show of hands requested Thursday morning to indicate who was at their first conference revealed about half the crowd, par for the course. It's always good that we see a new batch of copy editors each year and the ACES magic spreads.

I second, third, fourth the raves for Erin McKean, who not only is wicked smart but also has a passion for words that bubbles over *and* is such a dynamic, fun speaker (hmmm, with quite a command of the language). Wendy Nichols added her refreshing no-nonsense approach to an "Inside Dictionaries" presentation that turned out to be much more than word minutiae (as if there were such a thing among copy editors).

I peeked in on -- OK, I couldn't pull away from the session presented by Merrill Lynch media analyst Lauren Rich Fine, who was quite impressive herself with her thorough knowledge, frank and well-argued opinions, and clear enthusiasm again for her work. First of all, she sat at a table with zero notes or PowerPoint and just began talking, in an organized fashion even, and blew us away. *Then* she began taking questions. So many challenging ideas she presents for the newspaper industry, which I may write ad nauseam about later but which I'll summarize quickly now: Screw stockholders (because nobody appears to like your stock right now anyway), forget margins and do what it takes to fix yourself; try new things, something, anything to make yourselves more appealing -- even trying and failing is better than languishing as you are now; and give your customers what they want rather than what you think they want or should have (and that doesn't necessarily mean go after the young readers).

At the banquet I found myself bidding up live auction items whose proceeds will support a Times-Picayune hurricane relief fund. I've won a T-P T-shirt autographed by the copy desk. To me, it'll be the most valuable set of celebrity autographs I own.

1 Comments:

Blogger Doug Fisher said...

You will find an extensive summary of Lauren Rich Fine's remarks at Common Sense Journalism

11:37 PM  

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