San Francisco: Far Out on the Publishing Continuum
Claudia Smukler at Mother Jones is another long-time participant in local publishing. "I've been working for 25 years in magazines here from my beginnings at a typesetting business then with computer publishers like IDG and PC World."
"I work with colleagues now that I've known for 20 years," continues Smukler. "Each of us has forged a different path: working for the big computer publishing companies of the 90s, leaving for startups, joining internet companies, going freelance, returning to newly fashioned media companies, and otherwise finding opportunities that nurtured skills and experience that are valuable in 2013. The upheaval has helped build a resilient community that pollinates the Bay Area ventures with a creative and seasoned workforce. That creates a lot of fertile ground for innovation.
"It's a small and very well developed community," she continues. "The feeling today is that there are a lot of seasoned people who have come up through large companies that have transformed and may not be as big as they once were but the developing technologies and the internet and the dot com really infused people here with the idea that there was a lot of opportunity to expand what the meaning of publishing was."
New media publishing is a large part of the local scene. Facebook, Twitter and Google all have their headquarters in the area. And while these entities may not seem to be publishers in the traditional sense, they are very much a part of the publishing industry. (For more on this, see Bo Sacks's column on page 34.)
"The feeling that I've had," says Smukler, "is that it is this little gem and crucible of creativity on the publishing scene. A lot of times it's sort in the background, the little sister of Los Angeles and certainly of New York, but…it's pretty potent. There's a constant recycling and new energy created." One senses from the many contented content workers in the Bay Area that the artistic foment will continue to keep them on the edge of exciting new developments.