Name changer

Walk into my office, and you’ll see a set of file cabinets on your left. The middle one is full of neatly labeled yellow folders in which I keep a moderately large set of “topic” files.

As digital as I try to be, I still hold pieces of paper I hope will someday jog my thinking about things I am interested in, things I may be interested in and things someone may ask me in a meeting.

One of those files, “Convergence”, goes back to 1995. I weed out stuff from time to time, but the file remains. It’s a bit tattered around the edges.

I went back to the file when I was drafting “Context first”, and its contents provided the source material (deep background, revealed for the first time!) for my claim that:

Digital makes convergence not only possible; digital has made convergence inevitable. Marketers have become publishers; publishers are marketing arms; new entrants are a bit of both. Customers have become alternately competitors, partners and suppliers.

Seeing something is not always the same as feeling it, though.

So I found myself a bit sad when Northwestern University announced that it had voted to change the name of its school of journalism to the “Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications”.

Yes, a mouthful. In an era of sudden change, language moves more slowly than we do.

For all my theory, I do pine for the days of ink-stained wretches. I’m sure I’m not alone. A limited amount of pining is probably okay, but after a while, it gets in the way.

Journalism is not dead, but it’s not apart any more. Democratizing the tools of content creation and distribution has made journalism more transparent and ultimately better. Now we have to find a spot for it in that nest of media and integrated marketing communications .. things.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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