From the Editor: Did You Cut Costs in the Wrong Places?
Hmm. Isn't content the key capability in virtually all publishing? Merriam-Webster defines publishing as: "the business or profession of the commercial production and issuance of literature, information, musical scores or sometimes recordings, or art"—in other words, content.
It perplexes me that journalists' job losses have excelled at a monthly rate almost three times (22 percent) that of the general job market (8 percent), according to a recent study by Unity: Journalists of Color ("2009 Layoff Tracker Report").
Almost every publishing executive I talk with says that their editorial freelance budgets have been cut, many by vast amounts, some entirely. Chief editors have been laid off, as have research staff, proofreaders and fact checkers, writers—you name it. Sure, everyone is looking for immediate cost-cutting measures, but is this not like cutting big slivers from your heart? You can have the greatest technology in the world, but if your content stinks, what good will your technology do you? You can push to grow your revenue online, but if you don't invest in the content resources to do so, how, exactly, do you expect to grow?
I would guess that if more companies followed Mainardi's advice, cost-cutting in editorial would be far less than it is now, and rather, this is where more companies would be investing. Check out his interview here—reading his book would probably be a good idea, too—and think about this.
In this issue's Guest Column, Sheila Robinson, founder and publisher of Diversity Woman, poses essentially the same question: Have publishers, in their search for a magic bullet to save publishing, lost sight of the very thing that drives their business (the relationship between the publication/brand and the reader)?
In his column , Bob Sacks writes: "For years, we all have been scrambling for a new business model, one that takes into consideration all the technology of the present rather than the flawed, inefficient systems of the past. Perhaps we have been looking in the wrong place for improvement. … When you clear away the smoke and mirrors of our various publishing platforms, you are left with people reading what writers write."