[ale] AJC coverage
John M. Mills
jmills at siberia.gtri.gatech.edu
Fri Mar 22 16:00:38 EST 1996
WARNING: Long, pedantic note follows...
bd OFFICE MEMO AJC coverage Date: 3/22/96
bd Okay wait a second here....
bd Frankly I'm, a little pissed, I would much rather defend Linux than defend
bd the AJC - BUT the AJC and Bill Husted are getting an unfair rap here.
Did you perhaps mean to say 'wrap'^^^ 8-)
bd I tried to leave Steve Duchene with the impression that Bill Husted and the
bd AJC are not hostile to the cause but that simply the level of our reader is
bd not the UNIX effecianado, infact 99% of them are likely to have never even
^^^^^^^^^^^ Is that a typo, or is Spiro Agnew with us again?
(Prince Charles used to be good at that, too,
before he was distracted by more pressing
bd heard of UNIX. This is true. I am not trying to make enemies of anyone
bd here and I am not trying to sound like "we know whats best for our
bd reader...", but we do live and die by demographics of our readership and we
bd do have a VERY strong handle on who they are. And I think that it is a bit
bd unfair for Steve to portray Bill (or the paper) adversarialy [sic] when he
bd has never even read his column.
I read Mr. Husted's column, though not every time. His comments are
generally well taken if not radical. I find it depressing that Mr.
Hustead draws criticism when he steps out of the commercial mainstream.
I don't know whether to be depressed about Mr. Husted, your editorial
judgement, or your readership. I would have thought an occasional foray
into new areas might be _interesting_ to readers, like "what's Java?",
"what's PPP" (even for Windows users in fact), and also the existence of
a high-quality environment for some types of work, which many of them could
run on their computers. I just mean an occasional "have you heard of this?
here's what it's about" snippet, not a missionary effort.
bd What Bill told me was that, "whenever I use the word 'Operating System' I
bd have to spend the next two paragraphs explaining what one is". Our readers
bd care about Win95, Mac and DOS not because Bill or the paper thinks them
bd superior but because thats what they use.
I guess that's all they're going to know about, with this approach. Actually,
doesn't most of the Mac material come from another columnist?
bd I could go on here but the bottom line is this:
bd I told Steve that I would be glad to publish the release on our on-line
bd service Access Atlanta and that I would try to get it into the calendars
bd section of the paper.
bd Hell, that is pretty damn good.
Why is that "pretty damn good"? I thought it would be a normal thing to
provide your readership.
bd I made it clear that Bill was a good guy and sympathetic.
I didn't know his character and preferences were at issue.
bd I am sorry but Linux just is not main stream enough to warrant an full
bd article. It sucks, but it is true.
You might be surprised -- I don't dispute the "mainstream" point, but
there are all sorts of computer interests: collectors, different operating
systems, etc., etc. at all levels of expertise. Relative newcomers to
computer use might actually be interested in all this parallel activity,
at least in knowing that it exists.
If the problem is too much available material competing for the column-
inches vs. the advertising which ultimately buys the column-inches, then I
see your viewpoint. If the problem is paying for the raw material, I
imagine you could get good quality "amateur" writing as say 'guest'
contributions for which Mr. Hulsted's time and salary would not have to
pay. You might consider that.
bd The CEO of all Cox newspapers is an extremely avid cyclist and would love to
bd see extensive coverage of the Tour De France in the Paper. I know HUNDREDS
bd of other people who feel the same way, but the paper will not print it
bd because it DOES NOT HAVE MASS appeal. Thats just the way it is folks.
As a bicyclist, I would certainly say that you are missing another source
of reader interest here. You are in the same situation as the other media,
bd Lets not get all militant for the sake of getting militant,
I think you clearly present your requirements and priorities. I do see it
as a problem -- not in any way unique to you, the AJC, or even print media.
Actually UseNET is a clear alternative. The material is largely self-
generating (if mixed in quality), and the for-pay service is the access
itself. Costs are relatively independent of the diversity of traffic.
This is likely to change as it becomes more and more an advertising medium,
and thus promoters would have stronger interests in the cost-effectiveness of
attaching their messages to traffic consumed by different audience segments.
John M. Mills, Senior Research Engineer -- john.m.mills at gtri.gatech.edu
Georgia Tech Research Institute, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA 30332-0853
Phone contacts: 770.528.3258 (voice), 770.528.7083 (FAX)
"Lies, damned lies, statistics, and simulations."
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