I used to work for someone who once said, if you aren’t generating controversy, you probably aren’t saying anything worthwhile. I was almost fired from Andersen when I penned this column with my now husband, Jason Busch. My boss at the time took the heat and argued with the head of a $50m practice (who wanted me fired) that sometimes people need to say what others don’t want to hear. MetalMiner readers know that we don’t write objectively. We never claimed to, nor would we ever want to.
There are dozens of news sources geared toward the metals industry. Many of them have been around for over a hundred years including American Metal Market. These are fine publications and each has something to offer its readership. From day one, MetalMiner has operated with a mission to provide sourcing and trading intelligence for global metals markets. We are biased. We view our mission as providing the tools, data, insight and research to help buying organizations make better global sourcing decisions. And in that mission, we often take strong points of view like we did last week in this post: Steel Imports Cause Low Utilization Rates According to Steel Mills. And that post prompted a response from one of America’s best-known and arguably best-run steel mills, Nucor. If you buy steel, the post and the comments are worth reading.
Much has transpired in recent months with regard to the newspaper industry and the field of journalism as a whole. Many believe that with the financial plights of papers such as The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, The Boston Globe etc our Ã‹Å“free press’ will go by the wayside. We disagree. Instead, the field of journalism has not gone away, rather it has morphed and changed and we would argue in some cases, has actually become more democratic.
We view several factors as drivers toward that democratization. First, the new media has lowered the barriers to entry. New entrants can come in (without a lot of capital) and build a following by publishing analysis and insight, beyond the basic journalism inverted pyramid style (which generates a news story). Second, a free content model expands reach and allows sites to become known both in virtual circles as well as search engines. If a site generates enough relevant content, in a consistent manner on a frequent basis, it will rank higher in search, and in turn, generate more readers. Third, the medium itself allows for point-of-view writing (not necessarily the inverted pyramid classic news story) and perhaps most important of all, audience participation. And quite frankly, that last point has been completely missed by the existing metals industry media.
We have built our readership to over 15,000 unique monthly visitors in 17 months by presenting the so what and the what does that mean to me to the industry. And though most of the major global metals producers, distributors and mining firms read us (e.g. Alcoa, Noranda, BHP Billiton, Severstal, Century Aluminum, Nucor, Ryerson, USS, Freeport McMoRan, O’Neal etc) manufacturers of all sizes from the very large (e.g. Boeing, Ford, Caterpillar, HP, Best Buy) to the very small, remain our core audience. And we hope to continue our rapid growth by continuously covering topics of interest to the metals industry, with a point of view.
The lens in which we view the world takes the form of buyer’s advocate. It’s our bias. It’s who pays our bills, though admittedly we are looking to monetize MetalMiner, in part by creating offerings to the producer/supplier community and by creating valuable tools and applications for metal buyers. We’re sure producers and metals suppliers will want to take advantage of the new (and arguably more effective) ways to not only reach but more important, interact, with their target market. As always, if you have an opinion, please share it with us. This is a community, one in which we hope to help develop by open and public debate.