The migration of print and TV journalists to the Web has turned into a rush. Welcome, all of you, but we're starting to wonder: have you been paying any attention at all to internet publishing over the past 10 years?
Here's a quick survey of some recent bad ideas:
My Little O is yet another hyperlocal site for Brooklyn. Its founder, a former Time Inc. executive and longtime resident, hasn't found time to throw up a single post, despite ample competition, but has issued a press release promising the sun and moon: "Audio and video streams, surveys, forums, polls and business ratings... Facebook integration" and of course citizen journalism. Missed lesson: Premature hype leads to premature criticism, which can be lethal.
Politics Daily, an AOL site, admits to Howard Kurtz today that it is a "reemployment program for middle-aged journalists" (Kurtz's summary). Its editor Melinda Henneberger, pictured, says she wants to "preserve the values of the mainstream media," which apparently means paying six-figure salaries for long, text-heavy posts that are often out of touch with the news cycle (per Kurtz). Missed lesson: You succeed online by exploiting the medium's advantages: lower cost, greater speed and interaction with readers. You can try to be smarter, but keep in mind you're up against blogs written by some of your best sources. Michael Nielsen made these points well in his essay on online publishing.
Gossip Cop was backed by Dan Abrams, after MSNBC gave his timeslot to Rachel Maddow; and is run by ex tabloid journalist Michael Lewittes. It specializes in throwing cold water on celebrity gossip. In other words, it's a blog of publicists' denials. Missed lesson: Celebrity flacks are notorious liars; the Web is for routing around them.
Go Blab! is published anonymously, but it reads like something assembled by someone with recent experience inside the celebrity-industrial complex: Lots of insidery stories on the people who cover the news rather than traffic-making scoops on celebs themselves. Missed lesson: A media-obsessed gossip site started by an old-media hand will absolutely never work and you should totally not even bother to enter that business.