I've said before that I'm not one of those folks who argue that print is dead. Rather I believe that "some of print is dead. Some of it isn't...yet. And some of it will live forever."
Newspapers -- and I mean the paper versions of them rather than the brands -- are in grave danger. And I see little use now, let alone in the near future, for weekly or monthly magazines that focus on news rather than analysis.
But I do believe that my infant daughter will read some form of paper when she reaches my age. And so, apparently, does author David Renard. His new book, titled "The Last Magazine," argues that the surviving products will be the independent mags that are "objects of absolute passion for both creators and readers alike."
It's unclear to me what Renard's future will look like for B2B. Trade magazines are objects of absolute passion for me. But I know that my affection for the business isn't shared by many folks -- including many of the people who work in the industry. And if there's one thing that I have learned in all my years of speaking with editors, publishers and readers it is this: those of us on the content side are often delusional about how much passion our audience feels for our work. We are seldom as good as we think we are. And we are often not as valuable to our readers as we could be.
I have learned this too: the biggest threat to the future of B2B isn't technology and new delivery vehicles, it's us. I continue to be disappointed and surprised by the number of people I meet who remain unwilling to learn the new storytelling skills. Nearly every day I see resumes by recent grads and established journalists that could have been written 25 years ago. And every day I toss those resumes into the garbage. Because neither I, nor anyone I know, has a need for someone who can only report, write, edit or take a photo.
Those skills have value. They always will. But in the competitive world of today, they are simply not enough.
I want to see evidence of video and audio skills. I want to see evidence of familiarity with CSS, RSS, HTML and every other acronym of new media. I want people who live online, consume content on mobile devices, use social-bookmarking tools and participate in Web communities. I want people who don't think they need some gray-haired, middle-aged man like me to give them permission to create -- I want bloggers and page designers and database builders who have made things even when they weren't getting paid.
I want to hire people who have "absolute passion" for the new era of journalism.
I'll be talking about such things at three different events this month. If you're going to be at any of them, stop by and introduce yourself.
tags: journalism, b2b, media, trade press, magazines, newsletters, business media, journalism ethics, journalism education