Thursday, September 30, 2004

NEWSLETTER -- Number 5, September 30, 2004

Posted by Craig Westover | 1:57 PM |  

The Portable Craig Westover

Just when I find out where it’s at, somebody goes and moves it. After pestering my way into a regular column slot at a mainstream media outlet, “Rathergate” has made “blogging” all the rage. I take a look at what that may mean for the business-side of the mainstream media in this week’s Pioneer Press column.

From the column -- In a classic example of marketing myopia, [ Theodore] Levitt describes how railroads, operating with a product focus, dismissed the airplane as an innovation to be embraced. They disastrously perceived themselves in the narrow "railroad" business, not the broader "transportation" business and consumers didn't necessarily need railroads — they needed transportation.

Already faced with a significantly functioning blogosphere, are there network executives, newspaper publishers and station managers asking themselves, "What business are we in?" Are they coming up with answers other than "television news," "newspaper publication" and "radio programming?" Have they considered the "information" business and what that recognition might mean for their relationship to bloggers, the Internet and their customers?

Welcome to the blogosphere --

On a personal note, I’ve set up a blog site at This site is repository for my columns appearing on the Opinion Page of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Ultimately it will grow to include discussions with readers of my columns and other ramblings. It’s also your portal to prick my consciousness with your own thoughts on subjects that ought to receive a wider view.

I hope you‘ll visit from time-to-time.


Just a few days after my column “Smoking ban is properly local issue” appeared in the Pioneer Press, state representative Jim Rhodes and Marc Manley, director of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota’s center for tobacco reduction and health improvement were taking potshots at my argument that secondhand smoke is a personal and not a “public” health issue requiring government intervention.

The two ask the question, “When is a substance that annually kills tens of thousands of innocent bystanders not a public health threat?” Unfortunately, rather than address the three criteria for public intervention I detailed in my column, they choose to answer their own question with innuendo about “political spin” and a selective reading of what I wrote.

Links to their exceptions and my rebuttal on my blog site


Thanks for reading and whether you agree or disagree, your feedback is appreciated and encouraged. So are gripes and issues that you feel aren’t being addressed by local media -- just keep it civil.

Email to, or if you’re so inclined, drop an email to the Pioneer Press and express you own opinion ( Even if your letter isn’t published, it makes an impression.

This newsletter is solely the product of the author and is not associated with any media outlet.