Thursday, July 24, 2003

Fishing for the Enquirer Weekly
So, how often do you get invited to mingle with the Staff from the Enquirer and many other young professionals at a very exclusive downtown club for drinks and high-class eats? Well, this was a first for me. I am not one to hobnob with the influential all in the name of trying to decipher the form of the Enquirer's soon to debut weekly publication geared toward Generation X. I felt like a fish out of water. I am not a social person. I can tend to be a recluse when not dragged out kicking and screaming by friends and family.

My purpose in attending was, along with many others, to provide some feedback to the Enquirer Staff with ideas on what I think their new publication should be, or should focus on. I was able to provide my thoughts to one reporter, but beyond the hosts from the Enquirer, I was not quizzed by any other Enquirer staffers. I did not notice many staffers mingling with the civilians much at all. I was left thinking that either the staff does not think much of the new publication or they are as clueless as I am as how to attract a mass audience of under 35 year old readers, and still make money doing it.

I did have a nice time. There were nice people there, several of which I chatted with, and free drinks can never be a negative. I did feel a bit over my head. I am not a socialite in the least, so rubbing elbows with city council members and owners of trendy nightclubs is just not my style. I have nothing against the people at the party, per see, I just would feel far more comfortable drinking a pitcher of beer at Crowley’s in Mt. Adams singing along with the jukebox at the top of my feeble lungs, all while theorizing on the value of infinity v. the subplots of Slaughterhouse Five.

Who will staff the new publication? Well I would say that the recently hired new young writers will make up the core of the writing staff. No information on the editor was announced or even discussed. Speculation was that the Enquirer would go outside the organization to find one, but depending on the independence of the publication, one might not need a separate editor. The editing duties could just fall upon on of the existing editors all ready on staff, in addition to their current responsibilities. What would add work is the level of local content the publication seeks to provide. This is key to its success. If they just recycle wire reports or syndicated articles as the core of the stories, with just a sprinkling of new content, then it will be nothing they can’t get on the Internet. The web should be a component of the publication. A “Dead Tree” publication has value, but will remain stale without a unique web presence.

Will the Enquirer Weekly amount to anything? I don't really know. I don't know what it is going after. Do they just want to sell advertising to Gen X targeted vendors (the Starbucks crowd) or do they want to pull in the intellectuals? I say intellectuals in the sense of those who are more concerned with ideas, and less concerned with image. I was at a gathering today of image makers, not idea makers, and image might sell like hotcakes, but will it will taste like cardboard.

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