Thank you, Steve Outing
Steve Outing’s “Stop the Presses” column has ended with the recent closing of Editor & Publisher magazine. In characteristic fashion, Steve uses his final column to muse about what might have been, if only the newspaper industry had behaved differently over the past 15 years, and to make a few predictions. It’s worth a read.
Not to get all eulogistic, but I have always considered Steve Outing responsible for a tremendous amount of early progress at “online newspapers” in the 1990s. Certainly his column held up the best examples of work in the field, but more importantly, starting in 1994, Steve hosted the first listservs for people working in online news.
In a business where everything was new and nothing was known for sure, we were able to share learnings and mistakes, get questions answered, and to start friendships that continue today. At the time, I remember feeling that what was happening on those lists was pretty special. These were all busy people, dealing with the stresses of a startup business, system crashes, internal politics, whatever. Yet they took the time to share what they were discovering, to respond to dumb questions, to ask their own questions.
I know running the list must have been a chore: those early email systems needed regular attention, and there were some interesting characters among our ranks. I’m guessing Steve got more grief than thanks for his efforts at the time.
So for the record: Thank you, Steve, for taking the initiative with that list, and sticking with it.
Steve mentions in his final column that he has a new project, the Digital Media Test Kitchen at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Sounds like a cool gig – a fresh chance to look at the media world from outside the newspaper lens. Keep an eye on this next phase of Steve’s career at SteveOuting.com
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