From the Editor: Putting Paranoia in Perspective
Digital content sites are cropping up daily. Are they competition for many traditional print publishers? Yes. Are they also opportunities for those of us with careers in publishing? Yes.
Does this opportunity require that publishers, sales staffs, editors, and even company presidents reinvent themselves? As Sarah Palin would say, "You betcha." Digital is growing, and print—while still carrying the bulk of the revenue load for most companies—is on the decline; the shifting balance can't be ignored. But as Tom Cintarino, executive vice president of digital media for Northstar Travel Media says in the Corner Office interview (page 16), "The transformation of staff certainly is an ongoing process, but it's not one that you want to flip the switch on [too quickly to digital]. It just would not make business sense." The challenge is to find that balance, and adjust resources and your own skills as the balance shifts.
What about all the magazines shuttered last year? Magazines die every year, but it makes sense that more would suffer deaths in one of the worst recessions in our history. Add to that the Internet's impact on media consumption and marketing, and publishers floundering around with online strategies, and you've got a situation on your hands. But it does not spell the end of publishing or our careers.
Bob Sacks writes, "It is very clear that what we do as an industry is vitally important and, in whatever form it finally manifests itself … after a short pause of serious introspection, we will be back on track to growth and grandeur"—and with that, I agree. But he also writes, "We as a group will definitely survive, but we as individuals haven't a clue whether that survival will include us."
That's where I disagree. Those of us who are taking steps to adapt to industry shifts will have a place, whether at multiplatform publishing companies, custom publishers, corporate publishing, digital-only media, whatever. Why wouldn't we? We know how to build and engage audiences, and unite marketers with those audiences. The changes around us are what threaten our positions, and to those, we must adapt.