Re: PJTV and Notes On Blogospheric Methods - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Re: PJTV and Notes On Blogospheric Methods

J.P. and Dave have kicked around some criticisms of the PJTV business model which I won’t bother to dissect in any detail. I am friends with Roger Simon, Stephen Green, Ed Driscoll and other PajamasMedia people, and have written for PJM. So I have a wee bit of insight on their operation, and I don’t want to talk out of school, but here’s some background:

PJTV’s “Beta” launch was during the Democratic National Convention in Denver, where I hung out a lot with the PJ crew (in fact I was crashing at Steve Green’s place). They shot a lot of video footage of man-in-the-street stuff, event coverage and “Oh, look, it’s another crazy lefty peacenik protest.” Then they put a lot of time into editing these into program segments. Then the word came back: “This is not what we want.” And so, when they went to Minneapolis the next week for their coverage of the Republican convention, they didn’t do any of that stuff, but instead produced sit-down interviews of GOP VIPs. 

What I gathered — and this was really just third- or fourth-hand hearsay — was that the investors in PJTV did not like the event-coverage type of production. The investors wanted more of a virtual-newsroom-set-with-guest-interviews format. Well, maybe you don’t like the talking-head discussion approach that seems to be the basic PJTV model, but what you like or don’t like is much less important than what the investors want. “Money talks,” and you know the rest of that saying.

On the more general topic of what works and what doesn’t work on the Internet, and what role ideology plays in establishing an audience, I have always tried to view journalism through the eyes of the average reader. It’s a customer-service approach: What does the reader like? What catches his eye and makes him want to spend 50 cents to buy a paper?

The customer-service approach requires a certain amount of trial-and-error: “Hey, let’s see if they like it if we do X.” And if they don’t like X, you try Y, and if Y doesn’t work, you try Z. But once you find what the customer wants — when something clearly works, and the readership responds — you do more of that. There is no particular logic evident in Two All-Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese, Pickle, Onions on a Sesame See Bun, but the Big Mac sells, and so McDonalds keeps selling it.

I haven’t been blogging as much at AmSpec the past couple of weeks, and I apologize for my inattention, but this past week, my personal blog cleared a major milestone — 1 million visits — and so I re-designed the blog and celebrated with a post entitled, “How to Get a Million Hits on Your Blog in Less Than a Year.”

No investors have offered me big bucks, but the readers seem to like it. Or hate it. And the weird thing is, it doesn’t seem to matter whether they like it or hate it, so long as they read it. The customer service approach is kind of different in the blogosphere.

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