The Publishing Community Will Not Perish
I'm a journalist, a grizzled reporter if you will, and my beat is the media landscape.
I have a question I want to put forth to the members of the fifth estate and my readership community. If my beat was a metro coverage -- and if there was an onslaught of murders happening in my turf -- shouldn't I do my best no matter how depressing and horrific the news to inform my readers of the dire events happening in our community? The obvious answer is that, yes, it is my professional responsibility.
Today, the media publishing news is not so much about death but about contraction and the loss of published titles, jobs and a missing vibrant economy to grow in. The news continues to be sad and, to those directly affected, depressing. But just like a murder spree, the story has to be covered. It has to be dissected and understood. We need to know what is happening and why. We need to understand that although many jobs are lost and others are under great stress, neither the community nor the industry will perish. The economy, the industry, the country and the world will suck in its gut, exhale and move on. There is no other greater truth than the fact that we will survive. We might change, we might apply old talents in new positions, we might learn new skills, but above all else we will eventually turn the tide, grow and, yes, even prosper after this period of contraction and reassessment.
How we get from here to there is the mystery. How long will the trauma continue? Neither I nor anyone else has the answer. But the fact that these troubled times will be behind us some day is an absolute. The earth will not stop turning, the economy will eventually grow, and people will always be in the need to know. They will satisfy that need by reading what authors and publishers produce.
Should you be prepared for unexpected changes in our industry? Yes. Will there be a day when society won't need to store and distribute information in a multitude of ways? No. We are an essential and critical part of civilization, so we will prosper and perhaps help stimulate that prosperity by the very nature of what we do: educate, entertain and inform.