August 19, 2009

'Headliner' dress highlights crafter's past

A dress made of stories - actually newsprint - showed up courtesy of my ongoing search for use of newsprint.

The bonus is its from a woman who left her job at Michigan's Grand Rapids Press after 11 years to devote more time to her CraftSanity podcast, make art and do freelance career writing.

Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood is the creator. Head to her blog post to see the flowers around the waist and details on how she made the skirt.

(That'll teach me to clear out those craft posts from the readers without reading.)

By the way, I mentioned her good-bye to the Grand Rapids Press in Live in the present - advice for the going, going, gone. just one of the many times I've written about the Grand Rapids Press.

August 17, 2009

Advance Publications grabbing big share of headlines today

A new publisher in Alabama, a just-released interview with the blogging leader of and the Microsoft-Advance Internet partnership ensures more folks will know about the Newhouse-owned companies today. reports that Ricky Mathews, former publisher of the Sun Herald newspaper in Mississippi, is now president and publisher of three Advance Publication newspapers: Mobile Press-Register, Baldwin Register, and Mississippi Press. He picks up oversight of the Birmingham News and Huntsville Time in the new role of president of Advance Alabama/Mississippi.

Mathews, who succeeds Howard Bronson in Alabama, was replaced Aug. 5 at The Sun Herald by Glen Nardi. Mathews had announced July 21 that he was leaving The Sun Herald., where he started as an intern and worked for 27 years.

Also's blogging leader shares insights and Advance chooses Microsoft over Yahoo for more headlines today. The choosing Microsoft report is a follow to the earlier post onMicrosoft-Advance Internet partnership

One last item - an editor from one of former Conde Nast magazine is out on the road. Ruth Graham explains. why she's taking to traveling now that "her" magazine Dominos has closed.

When I return to New York in the fall, I’ll be looking for a full-time job. But for the next few months, I’ll have the luxury of seeking out historical homes, small protestant churches, big national parks, excellent burritos, local-history museums, and quixotic lifetime projects like the world’s largest ball of twine.'s blogging leader's insights shared

Ben LaMothe finally posts his Q&A with Ed Vielmetti,'s blogging leader. The interview includes answers about about Ed's role, how local businesses are affected by the closing of the Ann Abor News and how Ed's background in economics, not journalism, helps him approach (Ben, a native Michigander who graduated from Central Michigan University in May 2008, wrote this for Econsultancy, which has its headquarters in London.

(While I'm chatting about Ann Arbor, Joe Grimm interviews Mary Morgan about her online ventures since leaving the Ann Arbor News in his ongoing series of what journalists do after newspapers.)

Advance choose Microsoft over Yahoo

Advance Internet, which includes the Advance Publication newspapers, made its press release on "expanding local advertising offerings with Microsoft Media Network" public.

As Ken Doctor reported, the agreement means Advance Internet
  • Can offer its local advertisers access to Microsoft's advertising network, Microsoft Media Network;
  • Will switch to Microsoft content and search ads within articles.
  • Can sell Microsoft's search products.
Paid Content reported that includes ads on the Bing search pages.

Kevin Anderson, who worked for in 1997-98, focused on Doctor's conclusion that newspapers are losing the local online advertising market in his post for The Digital Content blog.

Greg Sterling focused on how the choice is a rejection of Yahoo in a post on Screenwerk.

Back to school for the newspaper sales consultants.

Microsoft takes major steps into news business; Advance Publications team to offer local businesses more options

Big news day on news for Microsoft - a new agreement with Advance Internet's network of local sites and indirectly through, which announced its acquisition of EveryBlock, the block-level aggregation of news application.

Ken Doctor wrote about the Advance Internet partnership on Seeking Alpha:, which he says covers all of the private company's newspapers. It means Advance Internet and the newspapers' sales folks will sell into Microsoft Media Network, (Doctor recommends this explanation; here's a link to the Microsoft pubCenter.)

The move expands the growing emphasis that the newspaper sales force can help local firms grow their businesses on the best medium, offering marketing solutions beyond print. It is one more tool for the newspaper sales representatives who became sales consultants - at least in title - at least five years ago.

Doctor - the first to report the agreement - also says the partnership gives Advance access to Microsoft ad technologies such as behavioral targeting and the ability to follow customers as they move about on the web.

He also says the deal means that Advance will replace its Google ads with Microsoft text ads through its paid search and contextual-reading ad products. Doctor also talks about Advance Internet's effort in search engine marketing and what this all means in his post., which is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal, says EveryBlock, which now offers information in 15 cities, will continue as an independent brand. The web-based application lets anyone type in an address, neighborhood or ZIP code to access to public records, news articles and web content.

Knight Foundation funded EveryBlock's first two years , but the Knight News Challenge grant ended in June.

Founder Adrian Holovaty shares his excitement and observation in a blog post. that assures much will stay the same in the microlocal effort. That includes Holovay and the team's five staff members staying in Chicago.

The team began working in July 2007, launched Chicago, New York and San Francisco in January 2008; added Charlotte and Philadelphia six months later; brought up Boston, Seattle, Washington, DC and Los Angeles in August 2008; and Miami-Dade and San Jose in
October 2008. Beta sites for Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Houston. were launched in June 2009.

All good news for Microsoft and I think good news for Advance Internet newspaper sites. Here's hoping it becomes easier for local businesses people reading their local news sites to contact local sales consultants. ( See Advertising wraps Oregonian front page for more on that rant.) Do you think the partnership increases the chances of the * sites getting the EveryBlock application into its sites?)

August 16, 2009

Blogger: Advertising wraps The Oregonian's front page

(Copy of newspaper courtesy of the Oregon Catalyst)

You cannot miss this: Advertising wraps The Oregonian's front page

The groundbreaking ad placement in the Sunday newspaper even merited an editor's column, complete with a mandatory mention of hard times.

Oregon Media Central sends us to The Oregonian's executive editor Peter Bhatia Editors' Blog for an explanation about the Advance Publication's first front-page spadea ad, which is an ad that folds around the spine of a newspaper.

Bhatia says such ads "will become more regular" on the front page, after having long been featured on comics pages. .
Oregonian spadea ad
Oregon Media Central pulled the graphic here as a sample illustration from the Advertiser Resources section of The Oregonian's website, which describes the ads as "printed on both sides, covering half of a section's front page and all of the back," combining "impossible-to-miss, front-page positioning with full-page merchandising."

In his column, Bhatia says this type of ad is "becoming more common in newspapers," and that "ads like these pay for the news staff." he is careful to explain that such ads don't take away from the newshole.

I first wrote "Coming to a newspaper near you, I am sure." But then I thought I'd spotcheck some other Newhouse newspaper sites to see if that advertising product was available. The June 2009 Flint Journal ratebook lists rates only for a comic spadea. The Jackson Citizen Patriot's online ratecard does not list any spadeas. I couldn't get the Grand Rapids Press advertising products page to open. I. couldn't find advertising rates for the Muskegon Chronicle. Over on the east code, I don't think The Syracuse Post Standard or Star-Ledger offer spadeas. I can say without a doubt that the average small business owner wanting to place an ad in a print newspaper via an Advance Publications web page would need a lot of determination and time to figure out how to do it. That's a shame.

Looking online uncovers basic differences, missing links and opportunities

Going online to learn more about the former Newhouse News Service reporter who just died in Afghanistan uncovered a few things I hate.

It was interesting to see how many sources differed on what I would consider basics - the name of Bill Cahir's wife, when he became a Marine, when he was overseas and his employers.

It's a shame that Cahir's family will miss many of the wonderful messages left online. I know of tools to aggregate what I've said across the Internet or find comments with a key phrase. I've yet to discover the tool that pulls together all comments from all that's been written about Bill since he was killed this week.

I don't understand why online operations replace accurate content with newer content in the same space? One Pennsylvania news site, for instance. changed its story at the same web address at least four times. There was one quote that was only in the first and fourth versions. I'd prefer separate stories with links back to the older stories or at least a note saying updated.

At least those sites were updated. I was surprised to learn that some newspapers in the Advance Publications system still wait until the print edition hits the streets. That meant some of the best stories about Bill Cahir lost potential links from other sites.

I'm shocked at how many sites didn't include links to the best coverage on the web, much less links back to their previous stories about Bill.

Since Bill worked for Newhouse, why wouldn't the Newhouse sites have links to a joint photo gallery, Bill's first person account of boot camp, columns from those who worked with him, a July 14 Associated Press that included quotes from Cahir, and a basic bio or timeline. There even was the opportunity to link to some of Cahir's work, some of it now in the paid archives.

But then, who pays for linkers, right?

Jim Six, whom I accidentally met through Facebook, is angry about bigger things and writes about it in "Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try."

It's a line from Bill Cahir, and the column is about Six' anger about Cahir's death and the war in Afghanistan. Jim and Bill worked together for about 10 years through Gloucester County Times, part of the Advance Publications network, publishing on

In his latest column, Six asks "Why are the Afghanis not more involved in fighting for their right to vote, or to rid themselves of the totalitarian Taliban? You have to ask after awhile, why are U.S. and NATO commanders tying the hands of their warriors and painting bull's eyes on their camo uniforms? "

But do not peg Six as antimilitary. He had just written about an upcoming picnic for veterans in Recognizing another hero.

By the way, NBCWashington is reporting that a memorial has been set up by the Burke and Herbert Bank for Bill's wife and twins-to-be, due in December. has more photos and links John Barna of the Gloucester County Times finished up his article on Cahir.

The NBCWashington interview that includes a reporter speaking with Bill's father and Deborah Howell, one of Bill's bosses at the Newhouse News Service bureau in Washington D.C.