Thursday, March 31, 2005

Scouring the World for Talent, And Licking Magazines

Get a load of this interesting Business Week piece on Google's global hunt for engineering talent. Great world-class companies don't worry about borders when it comes to recruiting talent. Sorry if that depresses my Cleveland techie/geek readers (especially you, Kukral). But of course there's a flip side to this global market: if you work hard, sharpen your skills and intelligently leverage the web to find opportunities, there's a world of work out there for you to land. So get to work...

Rusty Website. Is this the saddest waste of a great web address you've ever seen? Some map-maker on Cleveland's near west side, who was evidently hip to the web pretty early, seems to have locked up the URL for and then promptly done...not much of anything with it. I say sell it to the highest bidder on Ebay. He could probably make some real money doing so.

Sarah Loves Magazines. At Northern Ohio Live Magazine's 25th anniversary event last week at Fat Fish Blue the food, drink and music were good, but the people were even better. Live is an interesting Cleveland publishing story. Long considered something of a stepchild of the larger, deeper-pocketed Cleveland Magazine (from which it sprang, in a way, since it was founded by ClevMag alums Dennis Dooley, Diana Tittle and John Shambach), it has struggled financially during its entire life. The couple dozen well-heeled investors who initially threw money into the pot to get it off the ground are said to have grumbled aloud for years to anyone who would listen that they never made a dime off their investment. But, as I've written before, with Cleveland Magazine having gotten away from serious journalism in recent years in favor of a bland, soulless formula, with anorexic cover models and stories catering mostly to moneyed outer-ring suburbanites, NOL has kept something of a small pilot light going for a more serious brand of regional journalism. Not the entire magazine, mind you (much of it is still given over to the same kind of advertorial-style section crap that completely dominates ClevMag), but enough to remind serious readers and writers of how good magazines can be and mostly used to be.

Good magazines are infused with a couple of crucial human elements: savvy and courageous veteran editors who push the envelope with the ad side on behalf of their readers, and a steady stream of younger folk who aren't put off by the industry's low pay and long hours. Live's Managing editor Sarah Sphar is a perfect example of the latter type (click here and here to sample some of her work). I've known her for some time, but she's ordinarily too swamped to talk when I happen to be around sheparding one story or another (I'm a contributing writer there). But at the 25th celebration, I got my first chance to sit for a moment and get to know her. And she didn't disappoint. First, by informing me that she was first turned on to magazines by an old friend and colleague of mine, Bob Rosenbaum, who is indeed an inspired and gifted editor (he's now a publisher at Penton). And then she talked about the visual appeal of a good magazine. A great page, she said, should be so interesting and exciting that the reader "wants to lick the magazine." I never thought of it that way before, but from now on, I probably will. Here's to higher pay and shorter hours, at least eventually, Sarah. And may you have thousands of pages worth licking in weeks, months and years to come.


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