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Digital Survival Guide Redux

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Friday, Jul 25, 2008

Pardon the brief hype but PopMatters was nice enough to publish my digital survival guide for publications article today.  I hope that some pubs out there find something useful in there to help them (lord knows they need it).


A few other thoughts to go with that:


- Why didn’t I just make it a blog entry here?
I was considering that but as the article kept expanding, it seemed like more than a blog entry.  I worked on it for over a month, gathering sources and considering and reconsidering what I had to say.  Also, I wanted to have someone else check it over to see if I really was making sense with everything I said (thanks Zeth, thanks Sarah).  In addition, I thought the topic might be important enough to other people in the industry to warrant making it into an article.  That doesn’t mean I’m slogging off my own blog or blogs in general but I do think there’s a difference between what I write here and what I write for an article (as I explain above).  Obviously since I keep doing this blog, I think it’s a totally valid form of communication and information, just a different type of both things.


Truth be known, there’s a large blog post that I’ve been mulling for a few weeks also (about the ongoing funeral for critics) that I unfortunately keep putting off because there’s a lot I’d like to say but I haven’t found the time yet to find the right way to say it yet.  My blog file here is littered with entries like, sad to say.  One day, I hope to go through them and finally post them here.


- So is the article the last word on it?
Obviously, it ain’t and not just because technology keeps changing the game every day.  I didn’t include a lot of specifics because, I readily admit, I don’t have all the answers.  No one really does at this point and that’s part of the problem.  As I point out, even as answers emerge, they’ll likely be over-run by the next tech innovation that comes along and everyone will have to rethink what they do yet again.  That’s why it’s so important to bear down on the tech component of the news industry and keep working on it.


I expect my share of slings and arrows ‘cause I didn’t nail down specifics but I’d also hope that anyone knocking the piece would at least come up with some of their own ideas or suggestions.  Hey, I can dream, right?


- So there’s NO real long-term solution?
Well… I thought about that since I wrote the piece and maybe there is something that can be done.  Maybe there would be some sort of organization (say it was organized by people in the industry including owners, publishers, writers, editors) that could experiment and try out tech ideas that could help out publications?  Maybe a non-profit could do this?  It could at least provide some good temporary solutions and also try to figure out some long-term ones too.  If I could ever find some free time, I’d be glad to be a part of this myself but I’d just be grateful to see some kind of group like this emerge.


- Is there anything you can do for now?
Yep.  There is one really important and simple thing you can do right now and keep on doing.  Any time you read a good article, make an effort to write to the author and compliment them.  Also, send a letter to their editor to thank them too.  This profession is getting to be more and more of a thankless job and every little bit of kindness helps.  Also, it shows not just the writer but also the paper itself that someone’s reading them and cares about what they have to say.

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