BlogWorld, Barton Fink, and the Expansion of New Media: An interview with Rick Calvert

The right timing can equal success. Since launching in 2007 the BlogWorld founders Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin have leveraged their timing to capture lightning in a bottle providing a platform for bloggers to expand their craft, find new business opportunities and exchange ideas with their community. Recently BlogWorld made a set of major announcements moving the show away from its traditional base in Las Vegas and holding two shows in the same year on in New York (May 24-26th at the Javits Center) and one in Los Angeles (November 3rd-5th at the L.A. Convention Center).

I recently sat down with Rick Calvert, CEO and Co-Founder of BlogWorld & New Media Expo, to talk about the impetus behind the changes in location and what Rick sees as the convergence of media.

What brings BlogWorld to New York?

Since our first event in 2007 we’ve had numerous people ask us about having an East Coast version of BlogWorld. Even though we get lots of people traveling to the show from around the country and abroad there are exponentially more who just can’t afford the travel or the time to come out West. For two years now we have been looking at doing an East Coast show that serves as many people as possible and finally everything fell into place with the Book Expo America Co-location. The fact that Book Expo America sees as much value in this co-location as we do is definitely a sign that traditional and new media are converging.

You’ve recently announced the West Coast BlogWorld will be in LA. The Cohen Brothers’ film Barton Fink is a great example of what happens when a writer from New York comes to LA. When it comes to the convergence of media will the City of Angels every really accept the blogging community?

The short answer is they will accept it or they will be out of business. The truth is lots of individuals in those entertainment industries are already embracing new media and even leading in many ways. Every major film studio, TV network and record company has some kind of social media initiative. I think it’s important for the bloggers and new media content creators to remember that the traditional media industry can teach us just as much as we can teach them.  They have been monetizing content for a very long time.

For those who haven’t seen Barton Fink at the end of the interview there is a clip, featuring John Turturro and Tony Shalhoub, that perfectly captures what Hollywood studios think of writers. When you watch it try swapping out the word “writer” for the word “blogger”.

What trends do you see that herald the convergence of traditional and new media?

All major magazines and newspapers in the country have blogs now. Many of them have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts as well. Last year the folks at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) approached us and expressed interest in recruiting folks who were exclusively producing new media content to join the guild. The Grammys just held a couple of social media sessions at LA Live in the lead up to this year’s event. Previously, we’ve had Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park, Jermaine Dupri, and other musicians speak to huge crowds at BlogWorld. There is no doubt the convergence is happening. The question is how fast is it happening and how much crossover will there be between the two.

Traditionally, bloggers and journalists have been at odds. Do you feel that bloggers and authors’ goals are more aligned?

Some bloggers and some journalists are definitely at odds. Some bloggers are journalists. Some journalists are bloggers. Some journalists try to use the term “blogger” as a pejorative and that really just exposes them as ignorant. New media is perfectly aligned with all forms of traditional media. It’s hard not to harp on this point but honestly, most of the world still doesn’t understand it. This includes most of the decision makers in traditional media. New media is just a collection of new distribution tools and platforms. New media also changes the dynamic from a one way broadcast into a two way conversation and that is a very hard concept for many people to grasp. Once they do, they fall in love with it.

Book publishing as we know it is changing. How do you think publishing will be transformed over the next couple of years?

There is no doubt that digital content is going to outsell printed content very soon; it just came out a month or so ago that Amazon was selling more digital books than printed editions. That doesn’t mean print media or book publishing is extinct. It will just be more selective and quite possibly more premium. Blogs also offer a great medium for aspiring authors. Wiley has been coming to BlogWorld for a couple of years now and in fact signed several new authors to book deals as a result of meetings at BlogWorld. Book Expo America is going to be a great opportunity for aspiring authors to meet publishers and for publishers to find some really great writers.

Do you plan to offer some sort of combined pass between BlogWorld and Book Expo?

Definitely. All BlogWorld attendees with a two day conference pass or full access pass can attend Book Expo America. All Book Expo America attendees can visit the BlogWorld tradeshow floor and upgrade to a BlogWorld conference pass if they like.

I’d like to thank Rick Calvert for taking the time for this interview. And now a clip from Barton Fink. Enjoy.

About Angel Djambazov

Born in Bulgaria, Angel Djambazov has spent his professional career in the fields of journalism and online marketing. In his journalistic career he worked as an editor on several newspapers and was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Wyoming Homes and Living Magazine. Later his career path led to online marketing where while working at OnlineShoes he earned the Affiliate Manager of the Year (2006) award at the Affiliate Summit, and In-house Manager of the Year (2006) award by ABestWeb.

For four years Angel served as OPM for Jones Soda for which he won his second Affiliate Manger of the Year (2009) award at Affiliate Summit.

Currently Angel serves as OPM for KEEN Footwear and MedicalRecords.com. His former clients include: Dell, Real Networks, Jones Soda, Intelius, Graphicly, Chrome Bags, Onlineshoes.com, Vitamin Angels, The Safecig, and Bag Borrow or Steal.

Angel is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher for ReveNews.com and ReveNews.org.

Angel lives north of Seattle, spending his free time reading up on obscure scientific references made by his wife MGX, while keeping up with a horde of cats and a library of books.

You can find Angel on Twitter @djambazov.

One Response to BlogWorld, Barton Fink, and the Expansion of New Media: An interview with Rick Calvert

  1. […] Rick Calvert, CEO and Co-Founder of BlogWorld New Media Expo, told us expanding beyond Vegas and opening the New York City show in conjunction with Book Expo America was […]