Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Revising history: the JPG edition

What is it with media startups and revisionism?

Derek Powazek, the co-founder of JPG magazine has left the company he co-founded along with his wife Heather and Cloutier. JPG made a name for being the first print magazine using Digg-like voting to select best photos to put in the print magazine.

Derek has written in detail about the reason for his leaving JPG, which is summary, is thus:

Derek and his wife Heather planned out the idea for JPG while they were having a walk in a park. Recently, Paul Clotier, who was made the CEO of the startup under a new name of 8020 publishing, removed 1-6 issues from the JPG web site, and removed Heather’s name from About page and deleted the “Letter from the editors” page. Derek says Paul wants to put a new spin on how JPG magazine started – Paul wanted it to be a telling of how it all started with 8020 being formed, whereas Derek contends 8020 happened too far down the line.

We have seen such things happen in the online business world, where it is easy to edit web pages – Many content and news websites deliberately remove the list of all who worked before, including all who left on bad terms. Server space is cheap.

Those who want to learn more have to use Google cache (for recent updates) or Archive.org for older pages.

Revisionism often happens in media startups. Before this, there was the spat between John Battele and Pat McGovern over the aftermath of the failure of The Standard magazine. Then there was Jason Calacanis who was accused about revising history when he wrote about his time as a journalist in New York.

Revisionism is one of the tools of modern conquerors.
I wish all the best to Derek with his future plans.



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