Good Luck, Fawn and Andrew!


The title of this post makes it sound like Fawn and Andrew are getting hitched. They’re not. But I want to wish both Fawn Johnson and Andrew Noyes well as they begin new jobs.

Fawn has covered the Federal Communications Commission and telecom issues in Congress for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for the last year or so.  She’s switched beats to cover the Securities and Exchange Commission which she will do ably.

Andrew is currently a reporter for Congress Daily covering IP issues, some telecom, and all kinds of tech policy issues. He’s moving into a job similar to mine — he’s going to manage public policy communications for the Washington, D.C. office of Facebook.

Fawn and Andrew are two of the quickest studies in this business and they are exceedingly fair journalists. I will miss working with them both, but that’s the nature of journalism. People move on. Either they leave for other beats (that means you Molly Peterson and Kim Dixon) or they leave journalism altogether (that means you Peter Kaplan and you Jason Gertzen, my newest coworker.)

One of the reasons I like working in public relations is because I enjoy working with journalists. I think they are generally a smart bunch and I have writer’s envy with just about all of them. Fundamentally, I enjoy a good story as much as anyone and the best journalists are storytellers at heart.

These are tough times for journalism. Just today, new circulation numbers came out for the country’s largest papers. Reading this story will depress you.

We know that some of these subscriber losses are due to people getting their news from websites, blogs and broadcast sources, but that doesn’t account for all of it. Increasingly, people are skipping the news altogether. That worries me.

But the optimist in me notes that the web audiences for these newspapers continue to grow. Last week, I heard Alan Murray, an editor at The Wall Street Journal, speak at TWTRCON, a conference for businesspeople who use Twitter in their jobs. He pointed out that increasingly, his paper is getting readers via social media.

I think the Journal is onto something. Not only are they growing their web audience — they have a great mobile platform and have been using e-readers like the Kindle to reach more eyes — they also actually experienced an increase in their print subscriber numbers.

Not that I am a big fan of Rupert Murdoch, but the man does know how to make money. What is The Journal doing right that other papers can emulate? And even more importantly, when you look at the papers besides The Journal which have gained subscribers during the quarter, what are they doing right?

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