January 13, 2009

A deadline might work

Send in the fail whale! The first headline was "perfection or OCD" because I am not sure which prevents me from hitting the publish button here. My New Year challenge was to keep the number of published posts higher then the unpubublished ones. Oops!

I even started a number of posts early, knowing this week would be hectic. I spent several hours polishing yesterday. And yet, you see nothing got published.

I know I have a tendency to want perfection. And that darn Internet distracts so :-) For instance, a simple book review leads to some interesting info about the author which leads to a search ... Or a post inspired by a pep talk for journalists post is "balanced" (influenced by a Twitter) by a look at who else lost newspaper jobs which led to a search for a photo from my early jobs ...

And there you are - I added 3 more posts to the 300 plus waiting editing.

Maybe I do need a deadline. I know unpublished posts were not a problem when I was blogging about that popular American Idol show.
(Oh wait, that involved a paycheck)

I'll do better, I promise myself. I like not working holidays. I like not watching American Idol. I like not attending meetings.


January 11, 2009

A set of thanks due to bye-out (buyout)

What a shame - a buyout offer too good to pass up means journalists of all ages lose the chance to learn from a leader who blogged about the pharmacy industry. And even in leaving, Ed Silverman leaves an example worth following.

I might have missed Ed Silverman's'goodbye', if not for David Cohn, who shared via Google Reader a Beatblogging tribute tagged with this:
“Total bummer. Ed is a good guy and a great blogger.”
Cohn could have added that Silverman was a great beat reporter of the old-fashioned kind. Heck, I think even Jim of L-Town of Free From Editors would have liked him.

In one "exit interview" Silverman shares that his favorite post was about the Pfizer exec who took helicopter rides to and from work.

"It was a “gotcha” moment. It was an old-fashioned journalism gotcha moment. I plead guilty to enjoying that once in a while. And also because it seemed to strike a nerve. Thousands of people found that post and read it for days on end."
I've followed Ed for about a decade - partly due to my interest in medicine and these super-expensive drugs under development for treating multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and other diseases. Ed's reporting - shared online at http://nj.com and then in the blog taught me a lot about the pharmaceutical industry.

I guarantee you I was jealous when he got a standalone site and his own URL - http://www.pharmalot.com - something that didn't happen with many Newhouse newspapers.

But I loved learning from Silverman, watching him take on new challenges.

"Three years ago, I suggested a site that could somehow become a go-to destination for news and discussion concerning the pharmaceutical industry. As someone who had covered pharma for a decade, but was itching to do something different, a web site represented not only a next step in gathering and disseminating information, but also an opportunity to get ahead of the curve and move on to another stage in my career."
His hard work paid off with page views and a community.

Patrick Thornton had this to say in the Beat Blogging post:

"Ed Silverman was one of the original beat bloggers.

He was a shining beacon of how to do the practice right. He doggedly reported his beat, often putting in 12+ hour days. And be built from scratch an online juggernaut that won awards, brought in lots of visitors and fomented fantastic discussions about the pharmaceutical industry."
Indeed, anyone who has followed Beat Blogging knows how often Ed Silverman and the blog on the pharmacy industry was praised.

His leaving drew praise in a number of places online, even noted on the Wall Street Journal site in its Health Blog.

I also liked how he pushed to keep learning. You knew from what you read in the blog that he was putting in way more then the expected work day. He kept trying new things, jumping into the beat blogging about a year earlier. The blog effort expanded into Facebook and Twitter. Video, of course - check out the farewell post.

I especially liked that he ends his stay by remembering that his online venture happened because of people I also respect - Jim Willse, John Hassell and Hassan Hodges (Hassell and Hodges also have left the Newhouse newspaper in New Jersey, Hassell moving over to Advance Internet and Hodges moving onto the New York Times. Updated: May 2009, he moved to the Annarbor.com effort.)

It's a sign of the person Ed is that he also recognized the sacrifices made by his wife and kids so that his blog and career could grow.

Oh, and one last thing - he shares lessons learned in a podcast over on Beat blogging.

The interview, as it says on Beat Blogging includes this:
  • The reasons why Silverman thought it was time to move on.
  • Silverman’s role as an aggregator and how it made him more of an editor than a writer.
  • Key tips for would-be beat bloggers.
  • What is the fate of Pharmalot? Will the site be retired?
  • Can you separate Pharmalot from Silverman? Would a Pharmalot without Silverman really be the same blog?
Worth checking out while you're on Beat Blogging is a podcast Ed did on becoming a blogger with a beat. You can expect to keep reading Ed online - he's moving to Elsevier, a publisher of science and health information. That role over at Elsevier Business Intelligence includes him contributing to titles including the Pink Sheet and In Vivo, he told Bnet Pharma in an "exit interview."