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Milken Institute Global Conference Highlights Through the Eyes of Todd Harrison


Lessons learned from America's left coast.


The beauty of an interactive digital sphere is that constructive criticism and critical feedback arrive in real-time. In that regard, in an effort to better serve our community, I was curious to find out what Felix disliked about the 'Ville; he's a seasoned guy and there was utility in hearing him out.

When one of our staffers emailed Felix, he politely shared his views about "why" Minyanville wasn't part of his online financial process. There were some constructive comments, a few top-line suggestions, which were very much appreciated, and an astonishing admission -- Felix had never actually read Minyanville!

That discussion was recorded live
-- beginning at the 47:20 mark -- although you'll have to turn your volume to the highest level if you wanna hear my comments as I didn't have a microphone. It must be said that my intention then, as it is now, isn't to feast on smoked Salmon -- I like to build bridges, not burn them -- I was simply speaking to the issue of accountability and responsibility of online financial media "voices".

I do believe its incumbent on us all to know what we're speaking about before we put it out there for public consumption, particularly if you're going to skewer a platform you've never experienced first-hand. That's not only a matter of journalistic integrity or professional courtesy -- or, in extreme cases, potential legal liability -- it's a social courtesy, particularly when you've got a platform that affects public opinion.

I had to leave the last 15 minutes of that panel as I had an important meeting across town. Felix and I never had a chance to "follow up," although that may take place in the future. Upon my return to the Beverly Hilton, I attended the lunch discussion -- Global Financial Markets: Nouriel Roubini and Mike Milken Debate Where We've Been and Where We're Going -- before stepping to the next panel, one I was very much looking forward to.

  • Ariana Huffington: Huffington Post had 13mm unique visitors in March, which was a 94% increase year over year, according to Neilsen. She offered that there are different media models -- it's not online or print, nor does it need to be free (purely ad-supported) vs. paid. There is room for longer-form, foundational content, as well as open-source content. Huffington Post advertising revenue is growing "phenomenally" and they're adding reporters with that revenue (read: profits are being plowed back into the business). They have 6000 password protected bloggers ("people we trust") and a thriving community, which fosters pre-moderated comments. The addition of "soft shell media' (Twitter, etc) has been a boon; they're the #2 internet newspaper behind the New York Times (NYT).

  • Bill Keller, Executive Editor at the NY Times, mused that the last few years for newspapers has been akin to coming out of rehab or messy divorce, but that mindset is now receding; advertising is coming back (print has leveled, online growing quite well). They're doing roughly 20mm uniques per month in the U.S alone (there was some debate on the actual number as sources vary).
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