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DorobekInsider: CQ sells, but Governing does not… and Governing’s publisher exits

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We told you earlier this week about the Economist Group, the parent company of Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, buying Congressional Quarterly. And we told you to watch what happened with Governing magazine, which covers the state and local market.

In fact, we are learning that Governing ended up not being part of the Roll Call-CQ sale at all. Apparently Florida-based Times Publishing Company, which owns the St. Petersburg Times and used to own CQ, has put Governing back up for sale as a stand-alone product. And, in fact, we have confirmed that Governing’s publisher, Beth Bronder, has left, and that Peter Harkness, the founder and former publish of Governing, is taking the helm. (Read his bio from the Center for State & Local Government Excellence.)

Apparently the Economist Group was not interested in Governing. Governing covers the state and local market, which, given the troubles facing state and local governments right now, it will surprise nobody that it is not the best market right now. Most states are running in the red, California being the most glaring example. That being said, the state and local market seems to work on a counter cycle with the federal government — and it is a difficult market to enter given that there are 50 states and the District of Columbia, then you add counties and cities and tribal entities… it represents big bucks, but… it is also so diffused.

The state and local market is also dominated by an 800-pound gorillaGovernment Technology magazine. The challenge is that… well, Government Technology does a really good job covering the state and local market. It is very readable, almost always interesting, well edited, well published, well established… FCW tried to take on Government Technology twice with a publication called, and GCN tried twice with a publication called State & Local. Neither are around today.

So… who might buy Governing? Chances are both Neil Vitale’s 1105 Media and David Bradley’s Atlantic Media Group, which owns Government Executive, might both be interested… if the price is right.

The question is where will Bronder will end up. Bronder is very well respected. She was named Governing’s publisher in May 2008.

We’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Written by cdorobek

July 24, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Posted in press

DorobekInsider: 1105 GovInfo promotes Rapp – and 1105 GovInfo promotes Rapp – and hires Corrin as DOD reporter

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The 1105 Government Information Group has hired a new reporter to cover the Defense Department and has promoted David Rapp, who was hired originally as the 1105 GovInfo editorial director. Rapp has been promoted to 1105 Government Information Group vice president of content.

First Rapp:

Insiders tell me that the title matches the role that Rapp is playing, which has a much wider scope as content increasingly isn’t just a print product anymore. Rapp is reorganizing the newsroom around content first — and secondarly on where that content goes, whether it be print or Web or even events. The new title puts Rapp on par with 1105’s VP of events and the still being sought VP of sales (group publisher).

And welcome to 1105 GovInfo’s new DOD reporter, Amber Corrin. Corrin most recently was at editor of the newsletter group of Hart Energy Publishing, according to her LinkedIn profile… before that, she was at AFCEA’s SIGNAL magazine. She started at 1105 on Monday.

I found this bio from when she was Signal:

Amber Corrin
Assistant Editor
Amber Corrin is SIGNAL’s assistant editor. Corrin is responsible for the production of SIGNAL Connections and writes the International Events and Chapter items. For SIGNAL Magazine, she compiles and edits the Chapter News, Progressions and International Calendar columns. She also covers AFCEA events.

Corrin has covered international affairs, foreign policy and consumer health for United Press International; she previously freelanced for the Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail, including ground reporting of the first post-Hurricane Katrina Mardi Gras and 9th Ward clean-up efforts in New Orleans. A graduate of West Virginia University’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, she helmed one of the nation’s premier college newspapers and has won awards for her editorial writing and for young veteran coverage.

[EDITOR’s CAVIAT: I write a column for Signal magazine, and, of course, I used to work for 1105 GovInfo. Take all of that for what it’s worth.]

Congratulations to both.

I hear there were other changes within the organization, but I haven’t been able to nail those down.

Written by cdorobek

July 22, 2009 at 6:28 AM

Posted in press

DorobekInsider: The Roll Call-CQ marriage announcement

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DorobekInsider: The Roll Call-CQ marriage announcement

The worst kept secret in town is now official — Roll Call newspaper’s parent company, The Economist Group, today announced that it is buying the Congressional Quarterly group. Here is the AP story.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The owner of Roll Call is buying Congressional Quarterly in a deal that will bring two well-known publications covering Capitol Hill and Washington politics under the same corporate umbrella.

Terms of the deal announced Tuesday were not disclosed.

Read slightly more here.

Here is the release:

Roll Call Acquires Congressional Quarterly

New CQ-Roll Call Group to be Leading Provider of Comprehensive Information on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, July 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Roll Call Group today announced it has agreed to acquire Congressional Quarterly from the Times Publishing Company. Under the terms of the agreement, Roll Call, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Economist Group, will purchase CQ to form a new company to be known as the CQ-Roll Call Group.

“We are delighted to welcome Congressional Quarterly to Roll Call,” said Laurie Battaglia, Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Roll Call Group, who will become the executive leader of the new merged enterprise.

“The new CQ-Roll Call Group will have the largest and most experienced newsroom covering Washington and will be the leader in providing insight and analysis about the workings of Congress,” Battaglia said. “CQ and Roll Callare both highly regarded for unbiased, authoritative journalism and excellence.”

“The Times Publishing Company takes great pride in the success of Congressional Quarterly, and takes great pleasure in knowing that it has a very bright future as part of The Economist Group,” said Paul Tash, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Times. He said the Times is retaining its Governing Magazine division in D.C.

Each company has a storied and distinct history covering Congress and Washington politics and policy. Since 1945, CQ has been the “publication of record” providing factual, unbiased coverage of congressional activity. In recent years, CQ has been at the forefront of developing Internet services that provide real-time intelligence on the workings of Congress.

Roll Call, founded in 1955 and acquired by the Economist Group in 1992, has been at the center of the Capitol Hill community providing a look into the people, politics and personalities that drive the legislative process. This focus on community has led to strategic expansion into trade association-based grassroots mobilization with the acquisition of Capitol Advantage in 2008.

The CQ-Roll Call Group intends to maintain each company’s unique editorial voice, and thus there are no current plans to eliminate any products. In addition, the great majority of the CQ staff will join the merged organization.

Robert W. Merry, President and Editor-in-Chief of CQ for the past 12 years, will not be retained by the merged company. “As in many such instances of two companies coming together,” Merry said, “one CEO inevitably becomes extraneous. In this situation, that’s me.” He will pursue other publishing and journalistic opportunities.

Congressional Quarterly was represented by The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., a New York City-based investment bank that specializes in the media, information, marketing services and related technology industries.

Both companies have approved the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2009.

About Roll Call Group
Founded in 1955, Roll Call Group is the leading news source for coverage of the people, politics and personalities that shape the legislative landscape. From the daily Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call, to the grassroots mobilization product, CapwizXC, Roll Call Group provides its readers with the tools, data and access they need to understand and influence Congress. Visit for more information.

About Congressional Quarterly
With more than 160 reporters, editors and researchers covering Capitol Hill and Washington, CQ keeps policy professionals and opinion leaders updated in print and online on a weekly, daily and real-time basis. CQ’s award-winning product line includes: CQ Weekly, CQ Today,, CQ Politics, CQ Homeland Security, CQ Budget Tracker, CQ HealthBeat, CQ MoneyLine, CQ Transcripts and CQ StateTrack. Founded in 1945, CQ has a rich history of providing comprehensive, credible and objective information on Congress, politics and public policy. For more information, visit or

About The Economist Group
The publications and services delivered under The Economist brand are The Economistmagazine,, Economist Intelligence Unit, Economist Conferences, The World Inand Intelligent Life. The Group’s other brands include: CFO, a publication for senior finance executives; EuroFinance, a cash and treasury management event business; and Roll Call Group (including Capitol Advantage) and European Voice (aimed at decision-makers on Capitol Hill and Brussels respectively). The Economist Group is privately owned. For more information, visit

About Times Publishing Company
The Times Publishing Company is based in St. Petersburg, Florida, where it publishes Florida’s largest daily newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, the winner of eight Pulitzer prizes. The Times also offers Governing Magazine, Florida Trend Magazine, the free daily tbt*/Tampa Bay Times, the award-winning web site, the web portal, and specialty publications including local weeklies and niche products. For more information, visit

There are several interesting stories in here, not the least of which is the growing battle between Roll Call and Politico, which has grown into a power house… and actually, it is more like Politico against Roll Call and the Washington Post and The Hill…. (If you didn’t read the story in Vanity Fair about Politico… it is a fascinating read.)

Another may have been answered already: The Mike Mills question. Politico reports that Laurie Battaglia, managing director of Roll Call Group, will oversee the merged enterprise. Battaglia said that there are no plans to eliminate any print brands, since they are profitable and have “separate, distinct voices.” But Politico says that there are plans to integrate the newsrooms over the next 18 months. And… Mike Mills will get a post that he was passed over previously. Mills, who formerly was with CQ then went to the Washington Business Journal before joining Roll Call, will become editorial director of the combined newsroom.

Meanwhile CQ editor-in chief Bob Merry will be leaving.

But many of us will also be watching what The Economist/Roll Call does with Governing magazine, which has covered the state and local market. The state and local market has been… what is worse then awful?

And while neither side is saying anything official, we will also likely start hearing numbers. The buzz is that there weren’t many bidders… and those bids came is well under what Times Publishing Company had expected.

Many things to watch as this deal moves forward.

Written by cdorobek

July 21, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Posted in press

DorobekInsider: ACT/IAC hires former 1105er Kristyn Rivellese for events post

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The DorobekInsider has learned that the American Council on Technology and Industry Advisory Council has hired Kristyn Rivellese, who most recently was with the 1105 Government Information Group as the director of executive events. Rivellese will be taking the post vacated by Kelly Olson, who joined the ConnellyWorks marketing-PR-events company.

ACT/IAC staff and board were told yesterday.

Rivellese1105 insiders have been told that Rivellese’s position was “eliminated.” At 1105, she managed the very successful annual Fed 100 Gala and the GCN Awards Gala among other “executive” events. But she also managed the event formerly known as the CIO Summit. That event, which when I was there we tried to re-brand as the Government Leadership Summit, sought to be a “salon” type of atmosphere — bring a relatively small group of senior executives together to discuss the issues facing government — and come up with solutions to those challenges. I always found these events highly valuable. It was at the CIO Summit in 2007 that we first talked about government 2.0 — and it was the first place that Team Intellipedia spoke publicly. Speaking personally, I got to meet some amazing people, but… I think they also spurred government collaboration. I know that former EPA CIO Molly O’Neill made some connections — and developed ideas that eventually helped her be successful at EPA.

Unfortunately, given the hyper-evented world today, I hear that the most recent Summit will be the last.

All of that being said, Rivellese will face interesting challenges at ACT/IAC.

Congratulations on the new gig.

She starts in August.

Written by cdorobek

July 15, 2009 at 1:27 PM

DorobekInsider: Leadership changes at Government Executive – Dunie takes the reins, Vito shifts to strategy

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Curiously timed for the pre-Fourth of July week — and a week when the DorobekInsider was out of town — the Government Executive Media Group announced that long time president and group publisher, Steve Vito, is shifting to from his operational rule to a morestrategic one. His new title, effective immediately, is executive director for strategic development.

From the release:

In this new role, Mr. Vito will work closely with Matt Dunie, who will assume the title of President, in strategic planning and business development of Government Executive Media Group.

I should note that I spoke to Steve Vito and he says he is just fine, thank you very much, and he had nothing but positive things to say about Atlantic Media, Government Executive, and the team. And he stressed that the changes are his decision.

That being said, it seems to be somewhat significant change and has many people peering into the tea leaves.

As the DorobekInsider told you earlier, Dunie joined Government Executive in April — and, as I reported even then, many people were surprised that Vito was reporting to Dunie. That has nothing to do with Dunie. Most people don’t really know him — and that is the point. Vito is well know — and very well respected — in the government market. Speaking personally, I am a huge Vito fan — and I think he has been an elegant leader in a very difficult time for media –particularly for print. And a very interesting time in the government trade press market.

Vito has led Government Executive when 1105 Media’s Federal Computer Week purchased Government Computer News. It was a merger that, in our world, was — and maybe still is — of epic proportions. Government Executive was suddenly a underdog. But in some ways, Government Executive has actually flourished. Vito gets some of the credit, but the forces of the market have also been a significant player. In the end, markets tend to like competition.

But Vito has also made some keen decisions. A key one was to reduce the focus — and dependency — on print, and, by extension, increase theorganization’s online focus. Government Executive has wisely reduced its print frequency — Government Executive magazine is now essentially a monthly — but the group hassignificantly stepped up its online coverage both on, but Vito also hired former FCW editor in chief Allan Holmes to create, to focus on government IT. (When I was at FCW, we were often frustrating that Government Executive magazine would have IT advertisers when, at the time, they didn’t even have a technology reporter.)NextGov has certainly evolved over time, and there still aren’t nearly the cross connections between the GovExec and NextGov Web sites, but NextGov is undoubetedly a player. I don’t know if it is profitable, but… it’s a player.

Another key move: Hiring Bob Brewin. A few years ago, Vito hired Brewin from FCW — from me! Brewin had been FCW’s long-time DOD reporter and was famous — perhaps infamous — for his Intercepts column. Brewin now pens NextGov’s What’s Brewin ‘don’t call it a blog’ blog. (An inside joke — Brewin is adamant that he isn’t a blogger. I keep arguing that if it reads like a blog…) Like him or dislike him — and there are many on both sides of that equation — Brewin is a joy to read and it was a great hire. And I hear he gets great traffic even despite that NextGov still doesn’t highlight him enough.

So this move leaves many people reading the tea leaves of these moves by David Bradley, the chairman of Atlantic Media Company, which owns Government Executive. Bradley, of course, is extremely influential and is widely regarded as one of the smartest publishers around. As I mentioned earlier, there had been word that Bradley had been trying to sell Government Executive. It is unclear if that is still the plan. Insiders tell me Bradley has said he isn’t looking to sell Government Executive. And, of course, if he were to sell it, are there buyers? We are still awaiting the official word onCongressional Quarterly, but, as the DorobekInsider reported earlier, we hear that final details are being worked out on the sale of Congressional Quarterly to the Economist Group. But observers believe that there the Economist Group was essentially the only real bidder… and that CQ sold for less then expected. We will probably never know the specifics, but… Many publishers — even giants like IDG, the publisher of Computerworld, CIO magazine and other publications — are still struggling right now.

There is still a notion of creating non-advertising revenue streams. 1105 Media was shrewd in its buy (PDF doc) of the Federal Employee News Digest (FEND), which is a paid newsletter for feds. And some have speculated that Dunie’s assignment is to find other ways of generating revenue that are not advertising based.

A slight aside: I was interested to see Bradley staunchly defend public policy salon type dinners, which have sponsors and therefore bring in revenue. (Hat tip: MediaBisto’s FishbowlDC)

The Dunie-Vito moves do have people talking. Most people believe this is just a turn of a page and that the chapter has yet to be written.

Below is the full release from Atlantic Media’s Government Executive Group:

Steve Vito to Focus on Strategic Development for Government Executive Media Group

Responsibilities Shift from Operational to Strategic

WASHINGTON, June 29 /PRNewswire/ — Government Executive Media Group announced today that Steve Vito, President and Group Publisher, will transition his role from an operational one to a strategic one. Mr. Vito joined Government Executive in April ’99 and has been president and group publisher since January ’07. Effective immediately his title will be Executive Director, Strategic Development. In this new role, Mr. Vito will work closely with Matt Dunie, who will assume the title of President, in strategic planning and business development of Government Executive Media Group.

“Our brands are stronger than at any point in our 40 year history. When I joined in 1999, our business consisted of a monthly magazine, one conference, and a relatively new web site. We reached about 60,000 federal executives. Since then, we’ve expanded and diversified dramatically. Today, we offer products across most forms of media and each month we reach about 500,000 end-users in government and the contractor community,” said Vito. In addition to Government Executive, the monthly magazine, Government Executive Media Group has two web sites, and, produces over 70 live and online events annually, and started a fast growing research group, Government Business Council.

Vito continued, “With the media industry at an inflection point, now is the ideal time to pass on the operational control to a successor and focus my efforts on working with Matt and the other managers in the development of new media products.” Mr. Vito will continue to represent Government Executive Media Group at events and with industry organizations.

Matt Dunie joined Government Executive Media Group in March ’09. He was the President of Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA) from 2000 to 2007 when the company acquired ProQuest to form ProQuest-CSA. Under Matt’s leadership, CSA grew its revenues ten-fold through acquisitions and organic growth. At the time of his departure, the newly formed ProQuest grew to a 1,200 person global information services company.

“Steve has been a hero in this enterprise. It’s great that he will now concentrate on our strategy going forward. He is an exceptional talent,” said David Bradley, Chairman of Atlantic Media, the parent company of Government Executive Media Group.

“Matt brings a wealth of experience in different areas of publishing that we didn’t have. I am excited about working alongside of him in turning our strategy into reality for our group. I will remain firmly engaged here as we plan and implement the next phase of our growth,” said Vito.

About Government Executive Media Group
Government Executive Media Group, a division of Atlantic Media Company, is the premier media resource for federal managers. The magazine and related online, event and research properties cover the entire spectrum of management challenges confronting federal executives in civilian and defense agencies. Government Executive Media Group recently introduced, an interactive online home for the federal IT community. For more information about Government Executive Media Group, visit

Contact: Will Colston
Source: Government Executive Media Group

Written by cdorobek

July 8, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Posted in press Is the Economist’s CQ marriage official?

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It has been one of the worst kept secrets in DC — the Economist Group is likely the winning bidder for Congressional Quarterly group, some blogs sites are reporting.

No official announcement yet from either CQ nor the Economist Group, but we expect an official announcement… well, any time now.

CQ is owned by Florida-based Times Publishing Company, which owns the St. Petersburg Times. And, just to make it more complex, the controlling stock of the the Times Publishing Company is owned by the The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a nonprofit school for journalists, also located in St. Petersburg.

In January, Times Publishing officials announced the company’s intention to sell CQ.

“CQ, which was founded in 1945 by Nelson Poynter, then owner of the St. Petersburg Times, now derives the bulk of its revenue from its subscription site,,” according to Wikipedia.

A number of interesting items here, if/when the buy becomes officially official.

* Will we find out how many bidders there were? There were reports that there were a number of interested parties, but that essentially The Economist was the only publisher that was really competitive.

* Roll Call v Politico… The Economist Group already owns Roll Call newspaper, the Capitol Hill publication. Roll Call has been under pressure from Politico, part of Robert L. Allbritton’s media group, which also includes DC’s WJLA-TV ABC-7 and News Channel 8. If the Economist is able to pull the pieces together, it could provide a powerful reportorial force for covering DC’s political workings.

* The Mike Mills connection… If the buy does go through, it would reunite Mike Mills, the editorial director for Roll Call, with CQ. Before joining Roll Call, Mills had served as editor of the Washington Business Journal, but before that, he was CQ’s executive editor for electronic publishing.

Of course, no deal is done before it is signed off, but… we continue to stand by for news.

Written by cdorobek

June 23, 2009 at 6:14 PM

Posted in press

DorobekInsider: Now with comments!

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Web 2.0 purists would argue that a blog isn’t a blog if it doesn’t accept comments. If that is true, the DorobekInsider has re-entered the bloggosphere. Yes, we are now accepting comments.

Way back on May 8 I mentioned that this was coming — and, to be honest, it took a bit longer then everybody thought. (Doesn’t it always?)

And yes, it is a bit of a 2005 flash-back, but… In the end, comments are an essential part of a blog because it turns a one way conversation into a multi-way conversation. So I hope you will join the conversation — here on theDorobekInsider and on FederalNewsRadio .com — whether it be on something that you don’t like, or something that you like… and idea you want to share… Join the conversation.

We have our comment policy posted here.

New! Please read! Due to the large volume of comments being posted daily, Federal News Radio editors can no longer personally moderate the message boards. We have moved to an automatic approval system, with user ratings and abuse reports. If a particular comment reaches a certain threshold of abuse report, it will “hide” and those who then wish to read it will have to click to open it. Reports of abuse will be taken seriously and we reserve the right to remove comments at will and to block questionable users, though we really don’t want to do that. Bottom line: play nicely, people. Don’t be a jerk just because you can.

(Also please note that by logging in through the links in the upper right hand side of the website, you can now modify your accounts to include screen names.)

The following guidelines still hold true:

  • The views and opinions expressed in these comments belong to the people who write them only.
  • Be nice. Be reasonable. Be intelligent.
  • No personal attacks, hate speech or threats toward private individuals, religious figures or other comment posters will be allowed.
  • No suggestive or offensive language, including insulting other posters will be permitted.
  • Posts should have a point and should have relevant content.
  • No posts offering or advertising commercial products or services will be published on the site.
  • If possible please check your spelling in a word processor. Nothing kills your credibility like bad spelling.
  • Uppercase in text is the equivalent of SHOUTING. Comments in all uppercase are not allowed.
  • Feel free to share your opinion or beliefs on an issue, but keep in mind, this is not a religious forum.
  • Humor is welcome in appropriate situations, as long as it follows the other guidelines, however mean-spirited sarcasm is discouraged.

I want to give special thanks to Federal News Radio’s tech team who have been working hard to make it happen. (It ended up being more complex then we expected, so… I’m thrilled with their persistence.)

So… comment away!

Written by cdorobek

June 2, 2009 at 7:06 AM

DorobekInsider: 1105 Media cuts pay 20 percent — temporarily

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Everybody knows it has been an extraordinarily difficult time for media, and it has been particularly hard for print media. Just last week, when I was out in Tucson, AZ, the state’s oldest paper, the Citizen, closed its doors. Our industry — my industry for these years — is just struggling across the board.

That has been true for the publications that cover the government market as well. (My former colleagues over at 1105 Government Information Group, the publisher of Federal Computer Week, Government Computer News,et al, and the FOSE trade show, et al, regularly ping me for over-covering their challenges and not sharing the wealth. More on that later.)

Last week, 1105 Media cut salaries 20 percent for all employees making $45,000 or more for the summer — June, July and August. 1105 CEO Neal Vitale made the announcement last week in a memo that was not sent out across the organization but was instead read to staff by 1105 Government Information Group President Anne Armstrong. Vitale then followed up with a conference call — well, a one-way conference call.

Here are the specifics as I know them:
* A 20 percent pay cut for all employees making more than $45,000 across 1105 Media — not just the 1105 Government Information Group
* Vitale stressed that 1105 is not in risk of folding or having cash flow problems, according to people at the meeting including 1105 Government Information Group Editorial Director DavidRapp, who I spoke to last night. What Vitale told the staff is that, under the agreement with 1105’s lenders, the company must make a certain return on investment — a certain percentage. They are simply not at that percentage. To use my words, not his — 1105 is making money. It’s just not making enough money to meet the “covenants” with the lenders. (Somehow they always refer to these things as covenants, as if Moses chiseled them into stone or something like that.) Vitale specifically pointed to 1105’s Redmond group and The Data Warehousing Institute (known as TDWI), which have been particularly hard hit by a sharp decrease in most conferences. (Companies have cut business travel unless absolutely necessary, and it has left the conference market reeling.)
* In addition to the temporary pay cut, employees will also not be allowed to accrue vacation time during that period.
* Employees were, however, given 10 days off to use before the end of the year.

Needless to say, morale among the people I spoke to over the last few days is just horrible. And, of course employees vent at Vitale and Armstrong. Almost all of the people I heard from were angry that Vitale’s conference call was one way — there was no ability to ask questions. My sense is that they didn’t e-mail the message to everybody because — guess what — I or somebody like me would probably get my hands on it and post it. (IMHO, so what, but…) Furthermore, in those conference call settings, people often don’t ask questions… and what really can management say anyway. There are no promises. There are no guarantees.

To be fair, 1105 is not alone in this. This touches every part of the country; it touches every part of the media. Even the DC market has not been immune. The Washington Post is struggling.WJLA-TV here in DC recently laid off some high profile people and cut pay by 3.9 percent. In the business-to-business trade press, IDG — publisher of venerable publications such as CIO, Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, CSO, IT World and Industry Standard — recently cut 8 percent of its staff and instituted a 10 percent pay cut, including Computerworld/InfoWorld editorial director Don Tennant, who is almost a legend in the IT publication world. (

So, good friends at 1105, I hope that provides some context.

This is a media-wide issue. Entrepreneur and software engineer Marc Andreessen was on PBS’s Charlie Rose program in February and his take was that the media — and specifically newspapers — are simply between business models. The old model — this amazing industrial age process of putting out a publication and distributing it far and wide… and make no mistake, it is a remarkable model. That model simply has to change. We don’t know what that new model will be yet. We’re trying. But there are some harsh realities — more people are getting their information online, yet most of the money for publications comes from print. In many ways, news has become a commodity. The Christian Science Monitor recently posted a column by Robert G.Picard headlined Why journalists deserve low pay: The demise of the news business can be halted, but only if journalists commit to creating real value for consumers and become more involved in setting the course of their companies.

We journalists have to ask some tough questions — are we adding value to people’s lives? As regular readers know, I’m fascinated by Web 2.0 and I think there is a wonderful opportunity to make more information available to more people, but so-called citizen journalism does have its limits. Citizen journalism will never be able to do a piece such as the remarkable work in Fortune detailing the Bernie Maddoff case … citizen journalism won’t be able to spend the months coming up with reports like the WP’s simply remarkable series detailing the issues for vets at Walter Reed. And then there are wars — like Iraq, like Afganistan. It takes unique skills. It takes time. And yes, it takes money.

There are so many things that citizen journalism can do — and is doing. It isn’t just repurposing. But too often we journalists have put all sorts of value in areas that people just don’t care about. My classic case is journalistic objectivity. When it comes right down to it, people not only don’t value our so called objectivity — they just don’t believe us. What they want from us is to be fair. And yet our profession puts all sorts of value — I would argue some are downright arrogant about it — in something that our users not only don’t value, but quite frankly, they don’t believe.

So… there are still many choices and decisions ahead.

More on this to come, I’m sure.

Written by cdorobek

May 21, 2009 at 10:36 AM 1105 GovInfo lays off two more… and 1105 looks online

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It has been a tough period for all media, particularly print media. And that has included the government press.

It has been a tough 18 months for the 1105 Government Information Group. It has been tough going for all media outlets, but… it has been particularly tough for 1105, it seems. [Editor’s note: 1105 Media is my former employer when I was the editor in chief of Federal Computer Week.] After the hope that came from 1105 Media’s 2006 buy of the PostNewsweek TechMedia properties — Government Computer News , Washington Technology, Defense Systems , and the FOSE trade show — but the bad economy across the board has arguably hit 1105 harder then others.

And late last month, it trimmed its staff even more — the latest round of several staff reductions.

Late last month, the 1105 Government Information Group laid off Patrick Marshall, who most recently had served as GCN’s technology editor. Marshall, who was based in Seattle, was a long time employee who had been with Federal Computer Week for years. He moved to GCN soon after the FCW-GCN merger.

1105 also laid off Domonique Saunders, a sales coordinator. 1105 also decided to leave at least one vacant position unfilled.

There is also the looming question of whether 1105 will fill the vacancy left when FCW reporter Mary Mosquera left to join Government Health IT magazine.

Just about everybody at 1105 says morale is pretty low. Unfortunately, that’s true in most of journalism these days.

I should note that I hear that the FOSE trade show did better then had been expected. There had been dire predictions for FOSE, particularly given some of the industries biggest players decided to pass this year, including marketing trend-setter CDW-G. (More on the Amtower take on FOSE here.) Yet, by combining FOSE with the Government Security Expo, which 1105 has also purchased, it ended up doing well. FOSE also wisely teams with many of the groups in this market — including having a panel that I moderated on government 2.0 for ACT/IAC. But there was also an AFFIRM panel moderated by my Federal News Radio colleague Tom Temin. They drew people who might not have otherwise come to FOSE — and many of those people made their way to the trade show floor. So… most of the vendors I spoke to were actually pleased.

Meanwhile there was a meeting of 1105 leadership — including 1105 GovInfo president Anne Armstrong and 1105 GovInfo Editorial Director David Rapp — were out in Las Vegas last week, reportedly honing a online strategy. Many people — both inside and outside the organization — have been surprised that 1105GovInfo , which include the leading government IT publications, seem to have no online focus. Senior company officials have acknowledged to me that rebuilding an online strategy is a top goal. Many people are guessing that the meeting in Vegas was the latest step in that effort — and they are guessing that whatever happened in Vegas will not stay in Vegas.

Meanwhile, we keep hearing that Federal Times is also having troubles. There had been talk that the publication was moving to a four-day week. Senior people at the paper deny that. That being said, the publication just doesn’t have many ads most weeks.

Written by cdorobek

May 4, 2009 at 8:50 AM

Posted in press

FCW’s Mosquera leaving for Government Health IT

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Earlier this year , we told you that 1105 Media was selling its Government Health IT publication to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). HIMSS puts on the biggest health IT conference out there — just held this past week — and HIMSS has been trying to increase its presence in the government world. That is probably wise given the Obama administration’s focus on health IT. In fact, just yesterday, the White House announced the creation of a “Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record” between DOD and VA. Federal News Radio 1500 AM has the audio of President Obama’s comments. Hear his comments and read the story here . And on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris — although without me — they spoke to Tommy Morris, the acting Director of the Defense Department’s Office of Force Health Protection and Readiness Programs, which has been leading the effort to improve the medical record access. Hear that conversation here.

And also this week, there is word that FCW’s Mary Mosquera is leaving the 1105 Government Information Group to join Government Health IT magazine. Mosquera had been with Government Computer News before the FCW-GCN merger. She came over to FCW soon after that merger. She is an experience reporter with good background covering health IT issues and will be a real asset to GHIT editor-in-chief Paul McCloskey, who is one of the best editors I know. Congratulations to both of them.

Finally, I should note that on Tuesday on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Government IT Solution Spotlight, we will be talking to McCloskey about health IT — why it matters and why the Obama administration seems so focused on it… that airs at 10a Tuesday on Federal News Radio 1500 AM.

Written by cdorobek

April 10, 2009 at 2:56 PM