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The Editorial



Jobs, Hints, Tips, Tricks and Anecdotes for Editors

Archived Issue # 02, JUNE 6

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DO FREELANCE EDITORS HAVE A FUTURE?

The inspiration for this month's Editorial comes from Ken Cotton, an Internet acquaintance who lives in Japan.

Ken said:
"A few years ago people were saying that the Internet would kill newspapers and magazines. They were wrong. But the mobile Internet will really shake things up. I have all I need on-line now."

The verdict on Newspapers and Magazines is not in yet but the decision is definitely leaning toward the electric chair. Of the top ten print publications in the US only two or three have shown any positive growth in the past few years and, from what I have read, I believe this is generally true for newspapers as well as for the number of hours of television watching.(See below)

I would also make a bet that this is true all over the world where the Internet is freely available. People now have to divide their time between magazines, newspapers, television, movies, email, and the Internet, not to mention books and letters. (When was the last time you received a good old-fashioned snail mail letter that wasn't junk mail?)

So where does that leave the editors of the world? Fortunately, the editor's position with the arrival of the Internet cannot be equated with the demise of the horse whip manufacturers in the early 20th century. Writers are still writing. People are still reading. Editors are still doing what editors do.

Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the Internet has had a major impact on the publishing and editing industry. We edit differently, with a different focus and purpose. The Internet is not only a new invention or a new medium. It has changed the way we live and, more to the point, it has changed the way we think. Fast, quick, short have become the keywords in publishing and editing.

For on-line academic journals, facts and figures will take precedence over the lazy logical stroll towards the conclusion that I used to enjoy while slumbering in The Stacks at U.B.C. (University of British Columbia) Full length novels are destined to become items for museums. Short, punchy stories will be the norm for fiction. The art of condensing a whole range of emotion into one or two pages or screens, or even paragraphs, will become the writer's challenge. Dostoyevsky would, literally, not fit in.

The editor's position is safe for the moment but, like professional translators now becoming nervous about machine translation software, we had better be scanning the horizon for that geeky nerd who comes up with the idea to create totally hands off story writing software that will compile, edit, proofread, build a Web page, publish it and run the marketing campaign. In three seconds!

Robert Kidd
Director, EditFast

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THE RESOURCE CORNER

For just a sample of some of the magazine stats I refer to above, take a look at the following:
http://www.adage.com/page.cms?pageId=877 http://www.adage.com/page.cms?pageId=527 http://www.adage.com/page.cms?pageId=529

A wonderful resource site for stats. You can find pretty much anything worth keeping stats about and some things nobody should care about. (Do I really need to know how many green toilets there are in the state of New Hampshire?)
http://jmc.sbu.edu/faculty/dwilkins/resources.html

Our Editor in chief. The head editor's signature.

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