Consensus seems to be that I’m the actual moron

November 18th, 2008 → 2:10 pm @

I expect to get some hits from Gawker every now and again – after all, anyone who once wore this shirt for a photo shoot can’t be surprised when he’s ridiculed publicly. And I’d be a fool not to expect criticism from the likes of “i4yankees,” who posted in the comments section below.

But I’ve also heard from several other folks, and most of them have told me it was a dick move to post the transcript of a voicemail from a Bloomberg LP salesman regardless of how vertiginously convoluted it might have been. For the record, what I thought was odd was not – as Gawker surmised – that said cold-calling Bloomberg terminal salesman didn’t know who I was; what seemed so strange was that I should be on his radar in the first place. (I’ve never, after all, received any kind of sales pitch in the past.) I figured the only way my name could have come up – and the only way he could have tracked down my unlisted home phone number – was if someone in his office actually did know me. And it’s true: I did find it peculiar that he was able to track down a piece on The Da Vinci Code that I wrote more than two years ago without also discovering that the most recent piece I’d written was about his employer.

Anyway. The people have spoken, and they’ve said that the many hours I spend at home in sweatpants and a t-shirt have diminished my ability to navigate the vagaries of polite society. Duly noted. And my apologies, [name] of the Bloomberg LP sales office.

Post Categories: Bloomberg News & Eating Crow & Vanity Fair

Those eager young salesmen at Bloomberg LP: Still learning about the “search” function on the internets

November 18th, 2008 → 11:13 am @

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from someone at Bloomberg LP. Considering the December Vanity Fair features my 6,000-word story on Bloomberg News‘s founding, its recent management changes, and the fact that it’s just about the only news organization on the planet that seems to be making any money these days, there were any number of people I could reasonably have expected to hear from.

The message I actually did receive left me speechless. An exact transcription follows:

Hi Seth, [name] calling from Bloomberg. I just wanted to give you a quick call, I was actually forwarded your information from one of my colleagues and I definitely understand you’ve been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair for some time and provided a lot of insight on Dan Brown’s book and a lot of details that events that have occurred at The New York Times, but the reason that I’m calling is that we’ve actually been reaching out to a lot of public relations firms showing them the great tools that we have on Bloomberg to scan for news content relating to Vanity Fair or of course its peers as well so I definitely want to reach out to you and see if you were possibly interested in taking a look Bloomberg. I’ve met with a lot of other publishing firms also, AMI [American Media, Inc. – publisher of The National Enquirer, Flex, and Fit Pregnancy] being one of them, and thought that you as in, as a PR representative at Vanity Fair would definitely benefit from a lot of tools that are on Bloomberg also, so definitely feel free to give me a call and I will follow up with you. Again my direct again is 212-xxx-xxxx, and again we’d be more than happy to stop by and provide you with a little demonstration of all the news functionalities that are available. Again, [name] calling from Bloomberg.

That is truly a work of art. It would have ranked among the dumbest one-minute sales pitches ever recorded even without the conflation of “contributing editor” and “PR representative,” the comparison of Vanity Fair to American Media, or the reference to The Da Vinci Code as “Dan Brown’s book.” And to think that thousands of media professionals have lost their jobs in the past month alone. Sigh.


Post Categories: Bloomberg News & Stupid sales pitches & Vanity Fair

From Baghdad to Bloomberg

November 5th, 2008 → 12:49 pm @

After a good stretch without any stories in VF, I have two in this month’s issue: a piece on the American public’s (and the American media’s) waning interest in Iraq and one on the fairly remarkable success of Bloomberg News. Capsule descriptions have never been my strong suit, so I’ll use the magazine’s sub-heads to do the job for me…

The New York Times’s Lonely War

With most of the U.S. media withdrawn from Iraq, only The New York Times seems determined to stay the course. From inside the paper’s fortified Baghdad bureau, Seth Mnookin reveals the psychological and physical dangers that have faced the likes of John F. Burns, Dexter Filkins, and Alissa J. Rubin as the dramatic headlines of 2003 turned into a complex, difficult story that no one wants to read.


Bloomberg Without Bloomberg

With its ruthless competitiveness, its singular business model, and its bizarre editorial culture, Bloomberg News has continued to expand even as the media business shrivels. Under the new stewardship of former Time Inc. chief Norman Pearlstine, reports Seth Mnookin, the brainchild of New York’s mayor is poised to become the most consulted news source in the world.

It’s still well worth it to spend the five bucks for a hard-copy of the issue itself–the photos on both pieces are stunning. Except, of course, for the left half of this one…

Post Categories: Bloomberg News & Iraq & Media & Media reporting & New York Times & Vanity Fair