Deadwood: Shipping Media’s Inevitable Path to Change

Monkey Fist
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February 16, 2010

Part Two: When maritime marketing met citizen journalism, something novel and useful was born

imageBy Ryan Skinner
59° 56′ N

Changes wrought by new media will sooner rather than later wreck the influence model that many know and love. This model meant that newspapers and magazines, by the strength of their readership, expertise and neutrality, had influence in the market, which they parceled out in exchange for advertising and PR budgets.

All three of these pillars of influence are now under attack. Traditional readership is declining amidst a profusion of alternatives (what some call the firehose of information). The conceit of trade media’s neutrality is increasingly looking like a ruse, compared to some of the honesty people stumble upon at conferences or in discussion forums. (ahem…)

Expertise has always been in the hands of practitioners, the professionals; journalists never had a monopoly on that…

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Part One: Speculative ad sales methods reflect a trade media industry in crisis; it’s change or crumble

A communications manager recently responded to my article questioning the future of a new advertorial-driven shipping magazine. He said:

image I receive weekly calls from magazines who offer editorial coverage at a (high) price – very aggressively. I always turn them down – there are plenty of good magazines we can use for advertising.

However, they sell very aggressively and often to the CEOs and top guys in the company. They are often charmed by the opportunity to be featured as well as the impressive circulation (extensive name-dropping). Do you have a list of publications or publishers that you would recommend us to stay away from (that I can send to my management as a heads-up)?

Simple answer: "No." I could hypothetically make such a list, but doing so, and distributing it, would put my life at risk. If not my actual life, my professional life, would be threatened. PR and media are intertwined enough to make some kind of black-listing a real no-no.

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