Editor's Note: The Separation of Church and Pews
In mid May, Time Inc. announced the promotion of Brendan Ripp, former vice president of sales, to publisher of Time. But the real news to me was that part of this transition was Time's "formal integration of print and digital ad sales."
According to a memo that Mark Ford, president and group publisher, sent to Time staff, reported on MediaBistro.com: "… In addition to his current responsibilities overseeing ad sales for Time magazine, Brendan will add digital ad sales for Time.com and Life.com to his portfolio. Building on the successes of the recent iPad app launch and the debut of Time's Health Check-Up franchise, the formal integration of print and digital ad sales will help our combined sales force respond faster and better to the changing print, digital, mobile and event needs of our clients. …"
In April, MediaWeek reported that "Newsweek is formalizing integration of its print and online editorial operations, expanding Mark Miller's editorial director role to include oversight for digital content." Well, who the heck was overseeing the publication's digital content before?
I find it hard to believe that so many companies—I know others of all sizes, though the larger ones seem more prone to this "separation syndrome"—have been carving a line between their print and digital products/staffs, especially well-respected, iconic brands like Time and Newsweek. (Maybe that's one of the reasons Newsweek is for sale, though there seem to be several.)
It's probably because I'm an editor that I think drawing this line editorially is even worse than drawing it on the sales side; but frankly, both bewilder me.
Editors have been referred to as brand stewards for good reason; if you don't carefully oversee your digital products with the same editorial direction and standards with which you built your brand, you risk (a very high risk at that) hurting your brand—in all media.