More NonSense: Established Media


This week's news was dominated by the corporate reshuffling at DC Entertainment. Outgoing publisher Paul Levitz was replaced by five people: Dan DiDio and Jim Lee - co-publishers of DC Comics; Geoff Johns - chief creative officer of DCE; John Rood - executive vice president-sales, marketing and business development; and Patrick Caldon - executive vice president-finance and administration. They report to new president Diane Nelson. With the exception of Rood, Nelson chose to promote existing DC employees. Dirk Deppey has link roundup.

Caldon explains what should be taken away from this announcement:
Today’s announcement signals change, but change that comes with continuity. Familiar faces (Dan and Jim and Geoff) and familiar people behind the scenes ... are joined by new faces (Diane and John). It’s a dynamic team, one with an eye on the future and an appreciation for the past.
We'll see whether that's true in the coming months.

Gary Groth finally responds to the complaints about tcj.com, begun by no less than their own Noah Berlatsky, by announcing some design and personal changes. Noah initially criticized the site's weak design last year before moving on to attacking Groth's self-congratulatory intro to the relaunched site. Noah took exception to Groth's air of superiority towards bloggers - a typical stance of print journalists towards online writing:
Another way people often denigrate blogging, I think, is by suggesting that it’s not as concentrated, or thoughtful, or ambitious as writing a book. Again, it’s true that ambitious blogs don’t look like ambitious books, but I don’t think the difference is necessarily one of quality or thoughtfulness per se. As a blogger, I’m currently in the process of writing at length about every single issue of the Marston/Peter Wonder Woman run. Economically, that’s simply not something you could do in print. Similarly, a collaborative work of criticism like Tom Spurgeon’s massive series of holiday interviews on comics of the decade would be much, much more difficult to organize in a print magazine than online.
Not surprisingly, there's been some schadenfreude from the online community over tcj.com's teething problems after Groth's remarks. As Johanna Draper Carlson points out:
If Groth wants to slam online work for being “amateurish, shallow, frivolous” (as he did as a site welcome, a badly chosen introduction if ever there was one) and think that they’re going to show all those bloggers how things should be done… well, the contrast between those intentions and the actual site should be in the dictionary as the most obvious example of “hubris” I’ve seen in a while. Gary, your baby was out-of-date before it launched. Your contempt for online work shows through in the lack of effort put in here, with the site ignoring common best practices apparently through ignorance that there even were such things.
As someone who read the Journal in print (whenever I could find copies), I'm still pretty hopeful for its new online incarnation. But it's many ways a johnny-come-lately to the fast changing World Wide Web; and its print history doesn't automatically translate into online appeal as other established gatekeepers of older media have learned to their chagrin.

Whatever its problems, the site deserves praise for gathering some of the brightest bloggers on the web. For example, R. Fiore has written an excellent post comparing Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention) and CCI (Comic Con International). The former was once the larger convention. But the latter outgrew the former by leaps and bounds because it adapted to changes in popular culture, while Worldcon stagnated and now only appeals to the hardcore crowd. Of course lots of fans now complain about the changes to CCI.

In other news:

Cindy Au summarizes the reactions to The Last Airbender Super Bowl ad (More on Avatar Racebending).

Michael Murphey, CEO of iVerse Media; Jeff Webber, director of ePublishing for IDW Publishing; Brett Dovman, CFO of PanelFly, and writer Andy Ihanatko, debate the proper format and presentation for digital comics at Macworld 2010. There's also a separate video interview with Ihanatko where he relates his year-long experiment to consume comics and other media exclusively in digital forms. The results for comics were dismal if someone were to avoid BitTorrent. I get the feeling he doesn't read manga.

The Yes Men attend the offsite TED Conference and discover that anti-corporate activism isn't cool there.