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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is the President of Intermat, Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie. Visit his web site at

New York Now: A Matter of Passion

A while ago, sometime last year, I was in D.C. for some meetings and was
spending the night at a hotel. I was tired but not yet ready to sleep so I
turned on the TV and channel surfed. The only program that grabbed my
attention was a PBS program: THE ARMENIANS: A STORY OF SURVIVAL.

I have no real knowledge, interest or connection with the Armenians but it
was a riveting program and I watched. It so grabbed me that I found some
toothpicks to prop open my eyes so that I could watch the whole program
because my body wanted to sleep but my mind wanted to watch.

As soon as it was over, I fell immediately to sleep; glad I’d watched but
not giving it much more thought. Slip forward a few months and one of my
clients phoned me, wanting to know if I’d meet with Andrew Goldberg, a young
producer that he had encountered and liked.

Meeting people is a thing I enjoy. Sure. I’d do it. We met. Turned out
he’d produced THE ARMENIANS.

Tonight I am thinking of this because Andrew and I went to a party for Robin
Agrnaoff, who works with Discovery Kids, someone Andrew met at a screening.
Andrew is not shy and I admire that about him. As we left the party, he
flipped his phone to touch base with his current lady and I headed off
toward my home in Battery Park.

Riding home in my taxi, I thought about the party, full of people who work
in and around the media. One of the things I enjoy about working in media
is that there are lots of people who are in it because they are full of

That’s what I loved about THE ARMENIANS. It was a film that had passion
that passed through the process to the screen.

It is not an easy time for us who work in media.

Not easy in New York or easy in California. Coming downtown on the West
Side Highway in my taxi, I phoned a friend in California who has not
returned my last few calls. He has held important positions at a number of
companies and is now about forty-five days away from making painful
decisions about his life. At some point one has to find a job.
But jobs aren’t easy to find.

A few weeks ago I had lunch with my friend Cindy. Having just come from a
meeting with OLN I knew they were looking for some people. While having
lunch with Cindy I went: oh my god! I could have had a V-8! So I put her
resume out to the OLN people and, not quite voila! but she is starting there
Monday as a consultant.

The difficult thing for those of us in media is that there are no jobs –
well, not many. The OLN people told me that they had more than 300 resumes
for a Director level job, most of them from people over qualified for the

Therein lies the dis-ease that lives here in New York and, I suspect, in
every other place where media is an important job provider. There are too
few jobs for too many people.

It’s not a glamour industry anymore. It’s an industry. Not a bad industry
but an industry. No, we’re not making bras but we’re not the industry we
were a few years ago. There are too many networks and, while advertising
dollars are growing, those dollars are being distributed over more and more

Thinner slices of the pie for everyone.

But what is attractive is that the industry attracts individuals, like
Andrew, who are filled with passion and who have something to say and will
say it no matter what obstacles are in their way. It is that passion that
first attracted me to media and which keeps me attached to an industry that
is going through huge changes. But it is an industry that is, thankfully,
filled with people who have huge passions – and it is passion which gets us
from one day to the next and which helps distinguish us from the ants.