Vin Crosbie's Personal Blog

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Seeking a Shorter Commute

Although I’m scheduled in late August to start my eleventh consecutive academic year teaching New Media Business, a required course which I wrote and for which I am the sole instructor in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication’s master’s degree in New Media Management curriculum at Syracuse University, I’m seeking either a supplemental or else full-time academic position closer to New York City area. Or in any U.S. or foreign major city having a hospital that can provide excellent outpatient care for my disabled wife. When my wife became disabled in 2010, doctors at the three hospitals in Syracuse told her that the she required specialized care that only hospitals in New York City, Boston, or other larger cities could provide. So, she and I moved to the New York City suburbs, where we’d lived before each taking teaching positions at Syracuse, and I began commuting weekly back to Syracuse (a 500-mile/800 kilometer round-trip) to teach postgraduate New Media Management. But I am now almost a decade older and have grown fatigued of that eight-hour weekly round-trip, even to job I love. I would like to teach either closer to where I now live or else move to a new major city with a shorter commute. I’m enthused to teach more graduate students in Syracuse this autumn; yet I think that, either this coming academic year or during the 2020-21 one, I should begin teaching elsewhere rather than continuing so overly-long weekly commute. Moreover, as my wife and I have ‘downsized’ our household as we’ve grown older (and because she is a dual citizen of the US and the EU) we’re open to the possibilities of living and teaching elsewhere in the U.S. or abroad. If you know of anything apropos, please let me know.

R.I.P., Matthew Buckland (1974-2019)

I’m shocked by news that Matthew Buckland, Africa’s leading expert about New Media, died today after a short battle with an apparently fast-acting cancer. Shocked because during May in Cape Town, when I last saw Matt, he apologized because his speech to a conference we were attending had been held later than scheduled and he couldn’t have lunch together because he was entered in a competitive bike race elsewhere in the Western Cape that afternoon. So, I walked him to his car, his off-road bicycle mounted atop its roof, and he went off, strong, determined, as he always was. That’s how I’ll ever remember him. As I recollect, I first met him during 2007 at the IFRA ‘Beyond the Printed Word’ newspaper New Media conference which was held in suburban Dublin that year. He was attending it with his fellow South African friends and competitors Elan Lohmann and Colin Daniels who (along with Vincent Maher and Lukanyo Mnyanda) I sometime light-heartedly refer to as the ‘Rhodes Mafia’. Each of them were journalism students at South Africa’s Rhodes University who were the first generation of their countrymen to be born ‘digital natives’; each becoming a leader with global renown for their continent’s unique forms of New Media. In Matt’s case, that involved a few years after graduation working as a web producer at the BBC in London, a job which soon led to seven years working as the general manager for online operations at the Mail & Guardian in Johannesburg, post-apartheid South Africa’s major weekly newspaper. After that, he headed the New Media lab for Naspers, South Africa’s major media company, for whom he became general manager of Publishing and Social Media at age 36. In 2010, he founded and became managing director of Creative Spark, a +70-person digital marketing agency that he last year sold to the London-based M&C Saatchi PLC global advertising & marketing agency for a reported 50 million rand (US$3.5 million). Since then, he’s been entrepreneur-in-residence for the global Media Development Investment Fund (disclosure: one of my former clients) where one of his roles has been to teach online publishing and online marketing to media in poor countries or those arising from repressive governments. Matthew Buckland had a rare combination of knowledge, drive, and integrity. My relationship with him during the past dozen years had gone from mentoring to instead referring my former graduate students to him […]

My Family Ending 140 Years as Daily Newspaper Publishers

  With nostalgia and some sadness, my family today announced that after 140 years, it’s leaving the newspaper business on May 1st. The daily Chronicle of Willimantic, Connecticut, founded by my step-great-great-grandfather John A. MacDonald in 1877, will be sold at the end of next month to Central Connecticut Communications, the owners of the New Britain Herald and the Bristol Press, two other Connecticut dailies. Following John MacDonald, my great-grandfather George Augustus Bartlett, grandfather G. Donald Bartlett, mother Lucy Bartlett Crosbie, brother Kevin Bartlett Crosbie, and my sister-in-law Patrice Pernaselli Crosbie have in turn, generally after the death of their predecessor, published the paper every day since that week when John founded it — during which Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India, Chief Crazy Horse was fighting the U.S. cavalry, and President Ulysses Grant was ordering home the last federal troops occupying the former Confederate states. We have been the oldest newspaper family in New England. My father Arthur W. Crosbie was the newspaper’s general manager during the middle of the 20th Century. I worked there during the 1970’s, and had grown up in a multi-generational household where the news business and substance of newspaper editorials were dinner table conversation. When I started in the business, we still melted lead to make that day’s printing type (a slug of which, pictured above, I’ve kept from those days) and the newspaper received international and national news via rolls of one-inch (2.5 cm) wide paper tape punched in teletype code. Fire and police radio monitors sat besides our TV. The daily deadlines made it both a satisfying and frustrating occupation. One hard to let go. Yet Facebook friends who have known me as a news industry futurists/consultant from 1996 onward (and as well since 2008 as Syracuse University’s postgraduate instructor in the New Media Business) will know from my professional and trade journal writings and speeches during the past 15 years that newspaper publishing, with quite rare exceptions, is now an unsustainable business due to epochal changes in how and why people consume news, entertainment, and other information. Times change. Business life cycles end. And we’re closing our 140-year story. #

Lucy Crosbie and Kevin Crosbie

Mother’s and Brother’s Induction into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame

I am proud that the New England Newspaper & Press Association has inducted my late mother and my late brother into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame. Please click this link to see photos of the induction dinner and event, which was held in the Park Plaza Hotel, in Boston, Massachusetts. Besides my surviving family, many people from the New England newspaper were there. Charles Ryan, editor of the daily Chronicle in Willimantic, Connecticut, gave the nomination speech. Patrice Crosbie, Kevin’s widow and his successor as Publisher of the Chronicle, accepted the award, which was given by Gary Ferrugia, publisher of The Day, of New London, Connecticut.

My Comments About the M.O.B. Conference

Shortly after I biked to work one day this summer, the Navigate New Media blog interviewed me about the the Monetizing Online Business conference that I co-chaired on June 25, 2010, in New York City. I must begin keeping a spare shirt in my office. And if only they could build a shower in my office, too!