A September 11 memoir from the MediaBistro cyberhostess

Sept. 1, 2007
I would encourage you to read this relatively short first-person article and, maybe, pass it around to your friends and coworkers as we mark the anniversary of the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001.

MediaBistro is not the name of an overcrowded, overheated and overpriced Manhattan eatery. Nor is MediaBistro one of the so-called reality TV shows overflowing the cable TV channels these days. But, there is more than a mere touch of hype here, folks.

If you’ve ever been involved with serious public relations counsel or one of the better practitioners of the journo business, chances are that you, too, will have had some direct or indirect contact with the indefatigable MediaBistro founder Laurel Touby.

A Web entrepreneur who almost failed, the Manhattan MediaBistro cyberhostess now has the “mostest,” thanks to her not-so-subtle $20 million raid of the generous pockets of Alan Meckler, CEO of Jupiter Media of Darien, CT. And sales of Touby’s trademark red feather boas are reportedly way up.

“Jupiter wha…?” I can hear you mumbling. “Red feather boas?” So why don’t you do a quick Google search on Meckler and you’ll get more than you ever wanted to know about a pretty smart guy who has consistently led the pack of Internet media researchers.

Then do another Google search on Touby and you’ll also get more than you ever might want to know about this former magazine editor who has become a leading figure in the journo job business, particularly for online media types. Then you will most likely also realize that Jupiter Media and MediaBistro are one very good fit. This is a combination you’ll be seeing producing many ideas that could result in killer apps in the continuing TV/video/Internet explosion.

By the way, have you checked recently to see what your teenagers and preteens are viewing these days (and nights) on their laptops and cell phones? To say nothing about the incredible stuff they are busily uploading for free.

But, let’s get back to Touby. I hope that the sight of the pile of freshly minted $20 million in her bank account doesn’t tempt the red-feather-boa-clad dame to forget entirely about her print journalism upbringing. A Smith College grad, Touby cut her journalistic front teeth on such eminently respectable publications as Working Woman and Business Week. Now she modestly titles herself “Founder, CEO, and Cyberhostess of MediaBistro.”

When the Meckler-Touby bout was first rumored in the Manhattan media gossip blogs (try googling “Gawker “ and “Romanesko” for starters), I did a little googling around of my own to see what Touby had been doing since 1993, when I was busily sinking my editorial choppers into a rather stuffily venerable and, at that time, an exceedingly change-resistant Laser Focus World.

For much of 1994, Assistant Editor Bonnie Heines and I were struggling to assemble the first PennWell Web server for Laser Focus World magazine from a zero knowledge base. So we were much too preoccupied with writing and testing our own HTML code to respond to the early siren calls from Touby to attend her media cocktail receptions in Boston. Such mixers were to become the stock-in-trade of MediaBistro in all the major U.S. cities with a strong media base.

So, I have never attended one of these MediaBistro events. Who knows, maybe my life would have been radically different, had I succumbed to the Manhattan journo marketplace lure of MediaBistro and its implied promise of making the big bucks in a top media slot in the Big Apple.

But I was very pleased to note that Touby has kept her writing chops, as you will see in her 9/11 memoir that was posted on Arianna Huffington’s blog (the modestly titled The Huffington Post) on Sept. 5 last year. I would encourage you to read this relatively short first-person article and, maybe, pass it around to your friends and coworkers as we mark the anniversary of the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001.

I’m not going to give you even the mere gist of Touby’s article since that disclosure would almost inevitably spoil the reading for you. But then, as I fervently hope, you may indeed have other ideas on the subject of your own personal memoirs of that infamous day. So write them down for the benefit of those who follow us.

About the Author

Jeffrey Bairstow | Contributing Editor

Jeffrey Bairstow is a Contributing Editor for Laser Focus World; he previously served as Group Editorial Director.

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