There’s a piece in the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review, wherein J.D. Lasica interviews John Battelle (former publisher of The Industry Standard), David Talbot (founding editor of Salon) and Josh Quittner (former editor of The Netly News and current editor of Business 2.0). The subject at hand: how anything interesting in the media is happening a) on the West Coast and b) online.
The thing reeks of the attitude, “Well, we went bust but we were right, gosh darn it.” Yeah right.
Lasica makes the perfect point: although the weight of the Internet Media World was in San Francisco, the subject of most of the media was technology itself. This may come as a shock, but most people don’t care about technology. It’s true that many people with computers care about technology, and that the proportion of people on the Net to people with computers is remarkably high. But in many ways, what the West Coast Internet Revolution produced was a Golden Age of Trade Journalism.
What’s worse, they never demonstrated that anyone was willing to pay for it. Some commercial revolution.
What did Battelle take away from the flame-out of The Standard? Stay small, stay focussed, stay personal. Pretty good advice, actually. Just not exactly new advice, if you get my drift.