Watching My Nest Egg Crack

January 21, 2009

Good thing I’m only 35. I’ve got time to rebuild my retirement funds. When I left Newsday a year ago to pursue business interests, I did what nearly everyone leaving a corporate job today does with his 401K. I rolled it into an IRA.

I was tempted to take a good chunk out, pay the penalty and use it to help bankroll my venture. But I didn’t. As it turns out, I was even more dumb. Sensing my youth and bullish outlook on tech, I placed all into Yahoo. I can hear the groans already. I’m rolling my eyes as I write this.

Needless to say, my investment tanked my more than half.

So after a train-wreck September, October and November, I finally cashed out of Yahoo and kept the assets in a money-market fund. Until the beginning of the new year. I sensed the new administration might signal the start of a turn around.

I went all in once again. This time I spead my IRA over many stocks, including high-yields Bank of America and Citigroup. (I thought the worst was over, what can I say?)

Anyway, you know what happened next. My nest egg has been scrambled — or poached!

I’m assuming there are plenty more like me out there. So if you are reading this, I feel your pain.

I’m holding on to those stocks. Let it ride. I’m in it for the long haul. At least now I have no choice. It takes the most volatile aspect of this all out of the decision-making process. That would be me.

Blog originally posted at LI

The Problem With Social Networks

January 7, 2009

I’m a big fan of social networks. I’ve even developed Facebook apps and used Twitter to deliver news. The Internet has made the ability to communicate over multiple platforms an exciting time for grass roots journalism.

But for big media companies, this is not good. It’s judgement day.

In case no one has noticed the sky is falling! Classifieds are gone and the current economic climate has forced everyone to reevaluate how they spend ad dollars. Seriously bad news for newspapers — headline in 80-point helvetica bold. The free flow of information on the web has served one purpose in the case of newspapers — to steal a product that costs money and manpower to create.

How do you right this imbalance? My suggestion is to turn the clock back to 1995 and start charging for access.

Media organizations need to own their content and develop their own audience — independent of the Facebooks of the world. And lock down their content.

By the way, in my opinion, another problem with chasing these social networks? It puts more and more burden on reporters to update blogs, Twitter, etc. It takes time away from going out and reporting a story or working the phones. Oh, and don’t forget to post a web-only story ASAP and then edit video you shot while writing the story for the daily paper. Even Matt Drudge would choke on all that…

Blog originally posted at Wired Journalists