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Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis have noticed that I haven’t posted in some time. It’s been a busy few weeks, at work and at home. I promise to be better in the future. I came across this discussion about the value of “content” brands. That’s magazine-speak for the words…

Content Creation

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis have noticed that I haven’t posted in some time. It’s been a busy few weeks, at work and at home. I promise to be better in the future.

I came across this discussion about the value of “content” brands. That’s magazine-speak for the words and pictures that photographers, writers and editors compile into a creative package each time we publish an issue. With the technological advances, along with the seismic demographic shift as younger audiences migrate to the web and other “post-PC” devices for their “content.” At first glance, the track record isn’t so good. The biggest brands that younger readers/viewers have come to rely on most for their content are actually tools and not the content brand itself: Google, MySpace, YouTube and the like.

Tony Silber, blogger about the magazine industry, writes: “Typically, as the world of media transforms before our eyes, we retreat to a couple of seemingly safe positions:

· The world will always need quality content and as long as we can create it and sustain it, we stay relevant.

· Our brands mean something important, so as information consumption migrates to new channels, we retain a halo benefit.”

Will this always be true? Certainly this isn’t the first time the introduction of a new media has threatened an older, more established delivery method for “content.” Television didn’t destroy radio. I’ve come to realize that this blog may seem to be one that laments the disappearance of an old media landscape. That’s certainly not true. (After all, I am writing this on a blog.) But we are living in an interesting age, when communication tools are literally at our fingertips but our audiences have become more fragmented. Mass media means something entirely different today than it did 20 or even 10 years ago.

Silber continues in his post to make this rather dire, if not premature, prediction: “In other words, the fundamental premise of a magazine—a collection of content selected and edited by experts—has been wiped out as people get to pick and choose what they want.”

What place will magazines occupy on this new media landscape? I believe they will find their way, as they fill a need in people’s lives not replaced by other forms of emerging media. Only time will tell.

Posted by Joel on May 31 2007 • Multimedia

Now Outsourced: Journalism

I read this report in my local paper this morning and about dropped my coffee. I never thought when I was studying journalism and working hard to understand the craft of writing and reporting in college that I would one day read that local journalism would be outsourced to India. It’s a new day for sure, not a good one for the Fourth Estate.

From the story: “Nobody in their right mind would trust the reporting of people who not only don’t know the institutions but aren’t even there to witness the events and nuances,” said Bryce Nelson, a University of Southern California journalism professor and Pasadena resident. “This is a truly sad picture of what American journalism could become.”

Posted by Joel on May 11 2007 • Journalism

Magazine Writers Festival

I am going to be speaking in Minneapolis at the Magazine Writers Festival on Saturday, May 13. The event is packed with useful breakout sessions and seminars. I am joining a distinguished panel to discuss the opportunities for writers and editors in custom magazine publishing.

According to a recently issued report, custom publishing is growing at a rate faster than traditional media. Linda Zebian writes in Folio, about the report, issued by the Custom Publishing Council, is called “Characteristics Study: A Look at the Volume and Type of Custom Publications in America.” The report found “that in the past year, custom publishing spending is up with more than 125,000 custom publications produced in the U.S., a seven percent increase over 2005.

Some statistics from the report in Folio: “In 2005, magazines became the most common publication format, beating out newsletters for the first time since 1999, and in 2006, magazines accounted for 41 percent of the market share, a slight increase from 2005, while newsletters dropped to 35 percent of total market share. Online publications rose slightly from 15 percent to 17 percent, a fairly constant figure since 2000, while tabloids remained steady at 8 percent.”

Posted by Joel on May 03 2007 • Journalism