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Editing in 2011

Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Top editors discuss the challenges they face and how they will tackle them in 2011.

By Denise Gable

A new year brings new challenges to many in the publishing industry. The economy may be improving but many editors are still struggling with issues such as profitability, social media, and redesigning to better fit the needs of their readers.

Automotive Industries
Frequency: Monthly
Description: Automotive Industries (AI) is the world's oldest continually published trade publication covering the auto-making business.

Ed Richardson, editor, “The big challenge is to find ways of getting people to pay for the work we do—sourcing, analysing and packaging information. We know that, with few exceptions, online publishing is not profitable. Traditional print publishing is under threat from the Net and rising print and distribution costs. The immediate impact has been on the quality of content and ‘juniorisation’ of newsrooms. Editors have been replaced at the head of publications by salespeople, accountants, and business managers.

“As a result, the focus is on profits (or survival) rather than editorial excellence. Business and political leaders and individuals are making far-reaching decisions based on poorly researched and unverified information in all but a handful of quality publications. Trade publications are surviving by printing “advertorial”—a non-critical report on the company or its products. This type of information has its place, but should also carry a disclaimer or health warning.

“So, in response to the question of what I will be doing differently, it is simply whatever it takes to survive as a purveyor of information and (occasionally) knowledge.”

HME Business, 1105 Media Inc.
Frequency: Monthly
Description: Dedicated coverage of a range of home medical equipment niches, from adaptive automotive, mobility and rehab to respiratory, beds and support surfaces, senior aids, and other medical supplies that enable people to live safely and more comfortably in their homes and communities.

David Kopf, editor, “Top bullet point: leverage social media. It’s where our readers are going. My readership works within a heavily regulated portion of the healthcare industry. They provide home medical equipment to patients the majority of which have traditionally been Medicare patients. However Medicare funding for home medical equipment is undergoing massive upheaval to the detriment of my readers and their patients. Because the majority of my readers are smaller businesses, they are engaging in a phenomenal amount of grassroots organizing and lobbying and social media is increasingly becoming a central tool for pulling that off. Given the mutual loyalty between the pub (print and web) and the readers, we need to be there with them.”

The Herald-Times
Frequency: Daily
Description: Local news for the Bloomington, Indiana, area.

Bob Zaltsberg, editor, “Next year, we will look very carefully at our editing load. How are we dealing with sports agate and wire copy? Are we spending too much time on those things that we could be spending on local news gathering and presentation?

“We will continue our emphasis on ‘watchdog’ and ‘sense-making’ reporting and see if we can better promote the increasing number of these stories that are appearing in our newspaper.

“We will continue to see what we can stop doing. We're not very successful at this, but we must get better as we add new digital responsibilities.”

Remodeling magazine, Hanley Wood, LLC
Frequency: Monthly
Description: Monthly magazine with the best in management advice, popular design ideas, new products, innovative construction techniques, and effective marketing strategies.

Stacy Freed, senior editor, “We have done a redesign that will be rolled out in January 2011. My editorial role won’t really change. However, we will be doing shorter stories and more of them. We’ve changed story size in response to the market, the way people are reading, as well as for style reasons.”

Denise Gable is managing editor of Editors Only.

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