The Flipping Pages Blog

Looking for the future of magazines

Archive for May 2011

“Ossification my arse… “

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I was just catching up with the #specmedia Twitter feed from the Specialist Media Show. Clicking off to a blog post I was surprised to read this on the Concentric Dots blog:

From the moment I arrived at the show in Peterborough, I recognised the ossification I’ve experienced before when viewing production in the special interest publishing sector. Somehow the sector seems to suffer more than others and seems blinkered to the opportunities of digital innovation and partnership.

What Specialist Media Show were you at Mr Bateman? It clearly wasn’t the one where the audience got quite giddy when Ashley Friedlein of eConsultancy profiled the digital revenue potential of visitors to his website in real-time. It wasn’t the one where Ben Greenish talked about publishing his 183-year old title on the Kindle and stated that the world is changing so fast strategy is not an option, only action will do.

At the event I was at, the talk was all about embracing digital, from iPad editions to hyper-local communities and electronic site licensing.  I heard about newsletter companies reinventing themselves as data analysts, a Christian-ministries magazine selling sermons online and a former dog trainer gaming the search engines like a binary publishing Rin-Tin-Tin.  At the editorial roundtable I hosted, all we spoke about was CMS functionality, digital content syndication and how to reward old-school journalists for pushing the digital envelope.

No question that the delegates I spoke to had more questions than answers, but everyone recognised the changes taking place and all had experienced the painful truth of Joseph Schumpeter’s analysis, “hardly any ‘ways of doing things’ which have been optimal before remain so…”.

Casually casting “the media”, specialist or mainstream, as apathetic luddites is flat-earth thinking. The media has moved on Mr Bateman.We are well aware that we need to move online with our communities – we are doing it – and your analysis of the Specialist Media Show reminds me of what might have been one Joe Schumpeter’s lesser known quotations, “Ossification my arse…”.

Disclosure | I have spoken at the Specialist Media Show two years running (and would delightedly do so again if invited back).

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