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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lessons in Future Publishing

So, Edge Online's staff appear to have all quit? Why? Because editorially, it appears that Future Publishing basically wanted the online arm to work editorially just like the print arm.

"Edge-Online's editorial control has been brought in line with the magazine in an effort to create a "strong, consistent voice" for the brand, according to Future Publishing."

Now, Future Publishing... I like you folks. We've got history. You and I go way back, and I'm fond of you. So I'll be gentle.

Dumbass move.

I think that's about as gentle and diplomatic as it gets in this particular case.

What you've basically suggested is the equivalent of saying that there's no effective difference between TV and the cinema screen. Your print arm and your online arm have as much in common as television and cinema -- which is to say a whole lot. The things that they have in common make them strong. The things that they don't have in common make them useful and appropriate and relevant. Each to their own.

Gloss over those differences and you lose usefulness, appropriateness and relevance -- and you'd be economically better off shutting one of those arms down. In fact, that's pretty much what you just did, effectively. Staff gone, and most of the readers will go with them.

Future, you should know better. I always thought you did, in fact. You can have a strength and consistency, but you need different voices for different media. That's an old, old lesson now, from before many of us were born. I believe it's written down somewhere.

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