Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Written by John Zipperer at 6:53 PM
So, as magazines close shop, lay off and scale back, perhaps it's a good time to think ahead to the golden years. The years of plenty, surplus, of rebound and growth and unicorns and elves. Whatever.
So what will the promised land look like? This world where we've gone through a brutal shaking-out of the publishing industry. Who will survive? Who will still put words to paper (and to pixels)? Who will be reaching millions of readers with ideas and art and entertainment?
We can make some safe assumptions. Some of you won't be there. If you work at a big magazine with giant expense accounts, huge budgets for photo shoots, people who bring snacks around on a tray -- get used to living like the rest of us. Figure out how to do a photo shoot with the office digital camera. Go get your own damn twinkie for a mid-afternoon snack. If you work for a small business-to-business magazine or association magazine, you already know what it's like to do the work of three people. Keep it up.
Maybe the future will hold personal helicopters and teleportation. Seriously. I'm a geek. I like that stuff. It could happen. Perhaps the magical elves and pixies will bring you coffee in the afternoon and you can use your newtype powers (and you get viel extra points if you knew the reference without clicking through to the Wikipedia definition -- I said I'm a geek) to conjure up story ideas and limousine rides to the publishing awards dinner. Maybe.
But I seriously think the next couple years will involve a lot of pain and re-evaluation by publishers. The folks who are still around will be either very perceptive and smart or very stupid. I always prefer the smart people. But money doesn't always follow smart (how else do you explain Maxim?). How can you survive? How can you launch and expand a publication in this new world?
Jokes aside, I think it's possible and I want to be one of the folks who's still standing, still publishing and still commenting on the editorial world several years from now. So watch this blog for further postings on this topic, and share your thoughts.
There will be magazines in the future. Will you be part of it?