Longtime Gawker readers may recall a bygone era in which Laurel Touby, founder of media job board-etc. site Mediabistro, was a regular Gawker "character," famous for her feather boas and inability to use email properly. After she sold Mediabistro for $23 million in 2007, she became more famous for being a Can You Believe The Lady Who Started Mediabistro Is Now Super Rich, What The Fuck Is This World Coming To? Well. Years have passed. Now you must hear all about Laurel Touby's multimillion-dollar apartment.
• The newspaper industry may look to take a cue from the music business in its elusive hunt for new sources of revenue. Because, clearly, if there's one industry to gleam some wisdom from, that's the one. [MP, WSJ]
• The Justice Department is looking into whether tech giants like Yahoo! and Google violated antitrust laws in their recruiting efforts. [WaPo]
• NBC's two-part White House special scored big ratings. Conveniently, it also squeezed in plugs for every other show on the network. [HP, Newsday]
• Laura Ling and Euna Lee went on trial in North Korea today. [WaPo]
• Silvio Berlusconi is feuding with Rupert Murdoch. And so now Michael Wolff says he really likes Berlusconi. Business as usual, clearly. [Gawker, Reuters]
• Here's something really depressing to chew on: Glenn Beck is No. 81 on Forbes's "Celebrity 100" list and made $23 million last year. [Forbes]
We knew media mogul Barry Diller enjoyed the occasional spin on a mountain bike—he's pictured here on a bicycle at last year's Allen & Co. media confab—but we didn't realize he scooted around Manhattan on a Vespa. But that was one of Diane Clehane's revelations when the Mediabistro contributor turned up at Michael's yesterday for her customary Wednesday lunch:
Failed Internet mogul Alan Meckler is really excited about the Semantic Web, aka Web 3.0! And who can blame him, since he pretty much failed at versions 1.0 and 2.0? Meckler, who has run a passel of third-rate Internet websites since the early '90s, when he was best-known for trade titles like CD-ROM Librarian, now calls his company WebMediaBrands. Laurel Touby's Mediabistro.com is part of his collection. The boa-bedecked editrix reports breathlessly on Twitter that her boss has called the Semantic Web "the next stage of the Internet."
• To celebrate 1,000 episodes (and 35,892 sound effects), CNBC's resident buffoon, Jim Cramer, rang the opening bell of the NYSE today. [CNBC]
• Sales of romance novels are on the rise, since in times like these, we all just want to indulge in happy endings. Or something along those lines. [NYT]
• Why is the New York Times Co. frantically looking to cut costs at the Boston Globe? For one thing, it's on track to lose $85 million in 2009. [NYO, Portfolio]
• It's hard getting people to pay for newspaper content they now get for free. Let Coke guide you, Arthur Sulzberger Jr.: "Coca-Cola took tap water, filtered it and called it Dasani, and makes millions of dollars a year." [NYT]
• Magazines are blurring the line between editorial and advertising by putting ads on the cover. If they don't, they go bust. Rock, meet hard place. [NYT]
You all know the tale: MediaBistro started as a series of cocktail networking parties hosted by Laurel Touby, who then realized she could monetize a website by charging (voluntarily, at first) for job postings. Then came the classes, which are totally overpriced—especially when compared with nearly identical, yet much longer, journalism classes at the New School. (I've taken both!) Then came the seminars—would you pay $75 to watch dubious dating columnist Julia Allison and others talk about personal branding? MediaBistro makes money by getting people to pay them to learn how to break into journalism. But let's be honest: they're basically an expensive Learning Annex for people who want to work in the media but have no contacts or connections. So what's MediaBistro gonna do to make money turning the downturn, with MediaJobs disappearing left and right? How about desperate stunts: charging for cheesecake videos that cross the line:This video, "How Do I Got from Model to Model Journalist?" costs $15 FOR A SIXTEEN-MINUTES. Laurel, that's the phone-sex model of making money, not the "freelancer-helping" one.
Laurel Touby, the millionaire founder of Mediabistro—which totally exists to give freelancers the false hope of getting media jobs—has been called upon to give a speech about "Best Practices in Freelancing." Except she's forgotten everything about freelancing, because she's a millionaire now! So she needs you freelancers to help: