Finding new metaphors for Asbury Park's triCityNews publisher Dan Jacobson is now my favorite pastime since the New York Times did an 1100 word expose on Dan and the paper.
It’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in my life. Media and media watchers all over America spent the week talking about Dan Jacobson and the triCityNews. A google search on triCityNews and New York Times turns up 23,000 hits. Someone even created a Wikipedia page about the article.
It’s also gone international. I’ve read about Dan and triCity on European and African websites, and even one in Spanish, but I don’t know what that one was saying.
The premise of the Times piece written by veteran media reporter David Carr was that triCityNews has done exactly the opposite of what the rest of the known world of print journalism has done. Note my complete lack of surprise.
Jacobson absolutely ignores the Internet, while other papers have their content free on the web. triCityNews has on its website only a picture of the paper on a toilet bowl, a photo now being used all over the web as the image of triCityNews, to the absolute thrill of Jacobson.
The zombie-like mantra of newspaper experts for 10 years has been that the road to success is to put your newspaper on the Internet, a view bolstered by a Pew Research study published last week that found more Americans are getting news from the Internet than from newspapers.
Jacobson’s response is that more people are getting their news from the web because dumb-assed publishers are putting their papers on the web for free. Of course people are going to get if for free and not buy the paper. Jacobson ponders why in the world papers would commit suicide and put their content free on the web?
Jacobson’s opinion is world-wide news because while every other newspaper in the country has fallen and can’t get up, triCityNews is flying higher than pot smoking Richard Branson at 30 thousand feet.
What I find hysterical is that with all the media experts in the world from Ivy League Journalism schools to International Media Conglomerates, it took Asbury Park’s radical little publisher to point out the obvious to them – if you give away your product, you’re not going to make any money. Duh.
I take pride that Columbia School of Journalism picked up on triCityNews being a “plog,” a word I invented. If a blog is a web-log,” triCityNews is a “printed-log.” We make history around here in Asbury Park. And we make up our own words.
Jacobson’s shun of the web also greatly upset the web guys. One did a 750-word criticism of triCityNews regarding its news coverage and questioned its commitment to community. Buried in that piece, the author admits he’s never seen a triCityNews. Ha!!
Another critique said triCityNews thrives not by ignoring the web, but because it has no competition. I guess he doesn’t know that if Jacobson peed out the window on a windy day he could hit the other weekly paper published on the same day (The Coaster).
Still another pooh-poohed that ignoring the Internet leads to triCity’s success. He said triCity succeeds because of its “loyal and dedicated staff.” I can’t comment on that since I quit the paper a year ago and I’m litigating what percentage of “zero” is acceptable severance pay.
Another “expert” who critiqued but admits he never read tcn: “Maybe the triCityNews is a fantastic editorial product, but I wouldn’t bet on it.” LOL! In his analysis, triCity succeeds because it’s bad. He could teach in the Ivy League.
Most of the coverage was positive, so let’s get to the metaphors. People around the country are holding nothing back in comparing Dan Jacobson to all things important (and I’m dying inside laughing from reading it all). I thought I was overboard in comparing Dan to the boy in the old parable who said the King has no clothes. Turns out that’s modest.
Jacobson’s favorite is the guy who compared him to Martin Luther, who pinned his 95 Theses to the church door, re-wrote the Bible in understandable language and started the Protestant Reformation (Dan now signs his emails “Martin Luther.).
If we are going religious, I’d compare Jacobson to the Old Testament “Book of Daniel.” Daniel was a prophet who foretells of the Apocalypse.
Another guy made reference to a church/state divide.
Here are more I found. There are thousands of others on the web. Enjoy:
TriCityNews is “the Howard Stern of the print world.”
“An eye-opener” (that one from a website called “Creative Loafing” which I found to be a metaphor for Jacobson personally).
“Short-sighted, but it will work.” “A shocking pronouncement.” “Contrarian views.”
“triCityNews is a feisty, sometimes pain in the ass little number. triCity is in its adolescence and can be as annoying as any teenager.”
“Luddite Journalism” (the Luddites protested the progress of the Industrial Revolution).
“Publisher of the Year.” “Newspaperman of the Year.” “The little weekly that could.”
“tricity is also a major reason why Asbury Park has come back to life.”
Agreeing with Jacobson: “Maybe the best thing for newspapers struggling to understand the Web is to not try.” (That from CNNMoney).
I saved the best for last – here’s my personal favorite. One guy actually said:
“Democracy and journalism are safe.”
Hey, we’re the triCityNews. We’re here to help.