Last week, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism published the results of a survey conducted last November among nearly 300 editors.
When the survey was released, Jason Fell of Folio: prepared a good roundup of both the results (editors need more and better training on digital technologies and skill sets) and the significant range of comments that the survey presents verbatim with each question.
On a weighted basis, the top priorities for those surveyed were: improving digital content, organization and design (most content-management solutions received very low marks); obtaining training in digital technologies and online skills; and researching readers and advertisers.
On the same scale, the lowest priorities were (from the bottom): downsizing editorial staff; moving to digital only (print retains a role); and reorganizing staffs within broad, centralized content groups. On the last item, one editor wrote, “Leveraging content between titles is not the issue. Leveraging TOOLS is.”
I’ve written from time to time that the problem with content is not that it is too expensive, but rather that it too narrowly deployed. Though not unanimously, most of the editors surveyed are saying something similar.
For the most part, B-to-B and association editors have embraced digital distribution and want cross-platform (platform-agnostic) content to work. They need help getting there, both in training and perhaps staffing. Hard as it is to make happen, now is the time for smart publishers to invest in the skills that drive content creation, management and distribution.