Is There Enough Time for Digital Pursuits?
A recent blog post on PubExec.com has me torn. The entry (“Editors Won’t Be Buying Me Lunch Anymore”) was penned by our resident blogger and e-media expert Rob Yoegel, vice president/online publisher at North American Publishing Co. He wrote: “Most editors I talk to tell me they don’t have time [for blogging, creating videos, search engine optimization and hosting Webinars] and are struggling just to meet print deadlines. Granted, folks in operations need to make editors’ jobs easier so they ‘have time,’ but … no longer can we take the time we once did to create content, edit it, re-write it, edit it again and re-write it.”
While I agree that multimedia immersion is essential, I also believe it is not so black and white—and making editors’ jobs “easier” is the tricky part.
Editors are good at what they do for a reason—their attention to detail, ensuring that the publication is intelligent, anticipating readers’ needs and questions, etc. The process of creating valuable content requires significant thought, research, planning, re-reading and proofreading (proofreaders seem almost nonexistent today), back and forth with writers, and so on. And every new project, in any medium, requires the editor’s oversight, even if it’s “outsourced.”
When editors have to “make time” for additional, multimedia responsibilities, where is that time supposed to come from? Most editors already are maxed out, so all of these “new” responsibilities have to replace other things. And I’ll tell you what they replace: quality assurance.
I personally am quite excited about digital content opportunities and wish we could do more, faster. But, asking your editors to sacrifice certain fundamental responsibilities (spending less time perfecting the copy) to pursue these opportunities is like asking your accountant to stop paying so much attention to the numbers. And yet, there is an expectation that editors embrace such changes.