When the Chicago Tribunes goes bankrupt and even PC Magazine gives up the print ghost, it was only a matter of time before eWeek (PCWeek, in the prehistoric days I was there) gave the boot to Spencer F. Katt.

Spencer F. Katt was the swaggering, know-it-all, well-connected and somewhat dissolute feline “author” of the rumor column in eWeek, and in some ways the soul of the publication. I still remember the Thursday-night publication crunch, as reporters worked their sources to confirm their front-page scoops, lest they be relegated to a brief mention in the Katt column.

Spencer was irreverent, snide, high-rolling and seemingly at every posh industry event and the elbow of every industry pooh-bah – kind of the way PCWeek saw itself. Tickets to the Katt parties at Comdex, held to reward loyal tipsters and recruit new ones, were among the most sought-after of prizes. Today, the idea of readers waiting a week to hear the latest dish in a print rumor column is as quaint as a Wall Street tycoon checking a stock ticker. It’s no wonder that in eWeek’s last issue, the Katt bid his adieu.

Readers are now their own Spencer F. Katt, reporting rumors, giving their spin on the latest executive shakeup, even uploading videos about, say, notebook batteries  bursting into flames (just the sort of incendiary news the Katt would have loved.) IT vendors no longer rely on the IT trade press to publicize their products and strategies. They flood customers every day with white papers, email newsletters, Webcasts, Webinars and podcasts. Every last bit and byte are available, on-demand, anywhere, anytime from their Blackberries or smart phones.

Spencer F. Katt isn’t the first revolutionary to be killed by the forces – in this case, the personal computer and the Internet – he helped unleash, but it’s still sobering to see the once-mighty Katt shuffling off into irrelevancy. Readers are on their own now to monger their own rumors, and IT vendors have no one to blame but themselves if they can’t buff their own images in the mirror of the Internet.

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!