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A Telephony Disconnect

Phil Harvey
7/29/2009

1:00 PM -- I've been asked by a few readers to comment on Telephony's new name, new mission, and general newishness.

I read the press release, a news story, and here are some quick observations:

1) It appears that Telephony's parent Penton doesn't own the URL ConnectedPlanet.com, much the same way they don't own Telephony.com. If they do own it, they don't have control of it yet, which is funny. That's twice now they've failed to secure the most straightforward URL possible for their brand. They're still Internet novices after all these years.

2) One wonders if they even understand the new world they're professing to cover. They're starting a print publication called Connected Planet. This has to be the most confusing thing since the time I received an email from an outfit called CableFAX.

3) There's nothing more fun than watching a 100+ year-old brand become something meaningless and bland, like New Coke.

4) Telephony has been shrinking its staff and page count for years. Yet now, even though you can't even wrap a goldfish in their print product, the publication wants to take on a broader, more dynamic editorial mission, touching all international communications trends with the smallest editorial staff in nearly a decade?

I'm not saying this to be mean, but that's a tall order, no matter how seasoned (or salty) their editorial staff.

5) Paragraph one of the press release is an absolute howler: "When historians document the first decade of the 21st century, they will likely call this period the 'communications revolution' and recount the birth of an information age not yet imagined. Penton Media, the publisher of Telephony magazine and TelephonyOnline.com is very pleased to announce a new brand that will both cover and help shape this communications revolution."

If this first decade of the 21st century is so damn remarkable, why'd they wait until year nine of said decade to launch a brand that purports to cover its communications advances?

The only constant here is that Telephony's sense of timing is still poor. They're late to the party, they dress poorly and, generally, no one likes them. (OK, now I'm just being mean.)

Anyway, I wish Telephony and Connected Planet lots of luck. They will need it.

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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