Yesterday, the already-shrunken world of media reporting lost its two grandest figures: Jim Romenesko, the quiet man who singlehandedly set the agenda, like a front page editor for all media news (semi-retiring, by choice); and Slate's Jack Shafer—America's most consistently fearless press critic (laid off). Step back. Look around at the smoldering carnage of the media critic landscape. Who's left to carry the "harassing one's own industry colleagues" torch? A brief look, below.
AUSTIN, TX — A confession: Between the rain pouring down and the rumors pouring in, I didn't even make it to the Austin Convention Center today for any of SXSW's official programming. A show veteran granted me absolution: "No one makes it to the third day." The third night, however, was not optional. The hot ticket: Facebook's Get.friends party at Pangaea. The Crush party at Six Lounge a half-block down Colorado Street was the chill-out alternative. Scott Kidder and I hopped between the two, snapping pictures all the while. Mazyar "Mazy" Kazerooni of OpenHulu fame joined up for the party tour. At Six, I found myself sandwiched between Sarah Lacy and Julia Allison, SXSW's two controversy magnets. Back at Pangaea, I spotted Dave McClure grooving ecstatically to BT, the electronica artist Facebook evangelist Dave Morin picked for the event. (Don't tell Morin: BT has a MySpace page.) The afterparty? It took so long to get going anywhere that we ended up having it outside on Colorado Street, where Wired's Megan McCarthy administered breathalyzer tests. More photos:
Think of a high-school reunion held the day after you graduate: That was the vibe at the Side Bar Sunday night, where Gawker Media (publisher of fine weblog media products) threw a party for Valleywag and our sister sites, io9 and Lifehacker. We won Twitter praise for the free beer and minimal line out front, despite the wall-to-wall crowd in the Side Bar's expansive patio. Valleywag alumna Megan McCarthy, whom I never see in San Francisco — yes, she's been avoiding me — showed up toting Wired's award for best website started before most SXSW attendees were born.Vile videoblogger Loren Feldman showed up and didn't say anything truly nasty, to my disappointment.Julia Allison appeared, dressed as Julia Allison with a furry, green hat. Scott Beale and Brian Solis were on hand lensing everyone; Beale caught me and Caroline McCarthy of News.com having a moment, above. More photos, after the jump.
Get a few drinks in freshly departed Valleywag party correspondent Megan McCarthy, and she will start loudly insisting, no matter what the subject of conversation, that she was involved somehow. You're from New England? She's from New England. You think your friend is pretty? She's pretty, too. Valleywag had a scoop? That was her scoop! You played hockey in high school? She played hockey in high school. On that last point, we have obtained undeniable photographic proof. Enjoy! (Photo "courtesy" of jspepper)
You know, I'm perfectly fine with funtrepreneur-in-residence Jason Calacanis telling us to "please die." I'm totally OK when Calacanis emails me "Subject: Idiot," because I can take a joke, especially when it's true. But dammit, Janet, Calacanis has stopped posting pics of his puppies. Valleywag has been forced to outsource to Professor Chips (above), winner of last year's Babies vs Puppies showdown. After a week where the big stories were Larry Page planting one on new bride Lucy Southworth, Heidi Roizen singing her thighs thin, Google ripping off AOL — AOL? — the Times poaching yours truly, and Megan "Leggy" McCarthy leaving Valleywag for Wired, we could all use some face-blurpy time.
True story — back in October, Valleywag editor-for-life Owen Thomas and I were sitting in a coffee shop in North Beach going over party-correspondent duties and expectations and the future of the blog and all that other stuff that you talk about when you're talking with your boss. "I want you to do a Valleywag Calendar post every day," he declares. I try to steer him towards an occasional calendar post, because, let's face it, a calendar post is boring, and it ends up taking longer than it should because sometimes there's nothing worthwhile going on in this town. Anyway, I'm trying to explain to Owen that a daily post might not be the best use of my time, and, suddenly, he gets all quiet and still and the color drains from his face and his eyes roll up in his head so you only see the milky gray-white underside. And this loud, low-pitched, controlled growl comes out from the space within his goatee: "You will submit a calendar post every day by 11 a.m." And thus it was decided. So, let's take one last look at what's on today's Valleywag Calendar, shall we?
Herb Caen's typewriter is gone from Moose's, but the recently remodeled North Beach hangout still hosts the beloved columnist's spirit, I'm convinced. So I picked the spot for drinks in honor of Megan "Leggy" McCarthy, our party correspondent who's headed to some print rag in SoMa. (In Soviet Russia, Wired gets you!) Drinking starts at 4 p.m. Drunk blogging starts at 4:15 p.m. RSVP on Facebook, or just show up with a juicy piece of gossip dripping from your lips.
Ahh, that feels good right there. I don't think we'll be talking about this week next week. The Facebook pile-on continued. Amazon's Kindle reader suffered a surprise media backlash. I'd hoped for another bank-employee-in-tutu photo to liven things up. Instead we got Gerstmanngate. At least we still have jobs — oh wait, Valleywag party girl Megan "Leggy" McCarthy is heading to Wired. I think I'll go curl up in the tub with my INVISIBLE PUPPY. (Photo by Jason Calacanis)
Megan McCarthy, who since October 2006 has covered the Silicon Valley party circuit for Valleywag and become bizarrely famous in Germany along the way, starts at Wired in two weeks. Instead of drinking startup founders under the table, she'll be fetching doppio venti extra-hot raspberry white soy milk mochas for Epicenter blog editor Dylan Tweney, who himself once wrote for Valleywag — we're all dizzy now. Megan (pronounced meh-gan around here) will continue posting for us until she makes the switch. Please, please please send her out with a big scoop. (Photo by Mike Calore)
Yes, tonight's the night. Dan Lyons as Fake Steve Jobs is meeting Segway-polo fanatic Real Steve Wozniak for an Options reading at the Menlo Park Keplers at 7:30. This is a party that we just can't miss. Some of us anyway. My boss is too cheap to let me expense a Virgin America flight cross-country. Owen "Mr. Bigglesworth" Thomas will be there, purring away. So will Megan McCarthy, the self-proclaimed "Princess of the Valley." Finally, very special correspondent Paul Boutin (boo-TAHN) will be there with his wife, Christina Noren, whom voters on Dig a Silicon Valley Girl have deemed the prettiest girl in the area. You don't want to miss that! Hit the jump to see what Fake Steve had to say the last time Woz crashed his party.