It was nice to hear that Editor & Publisher, the 100-year-plus journal covering the newspaper industry that folded at the end of last year, was bought Thursday by Duncan McIntosh Co. and resumed operations immediately. The online version is up and running under the leadership of E&P veteran Mark Fitzgerald, and plans are to resume a monthly print edition beginning in February.
This is refreshing because, as I said last month, when the industry’s harbinger folds, does that become a harbinger for the industry?
Although E&P is back in business with a new owner, the real challenge now is to make it a viable, necessary tool for industry leaders and followers. After all, E&P’s first demise was not necessarily because of falling ad revenues in an industry suffering same, but it became irrelevant as the growth of online competition, such as Poynter’s Romenesko blog, took readers away. And although new features like the blogs written by Fitzgerald and staffer Jennifer Saba were good, they weren’t marketed well and became lost in the sea of media blogs.
If E&P is to survive its second life, it’ll need to be creative with new ways of distributing its content. Frankly, I don’t know of a single individual in my field who still has a subscription (I cancelled my 6 years ago after becoming a fan of Romenesko…back when it was still known as Media News). Like the folks they cover, E&P is going to need to rely on new revenue models, because I don’t suspect Duncan McIntosh bought it with the idea to be its sugar daddy.
One idea would be to find a way to adapt the “E&Pinexile” blog written by suddenly unemployed E&P staffers. In the short time of their existence, they had build a blog that could easily rival the immediacy and credibility of Romenesko. Then take these new ideas and deliver them in a format and timeliness that readers would be willing to pay a small price for. (An E&P iPhone app? Why not?)
E&P has been given a new life, which is good for it and good for the industry. Here’s hoping they can figure out how to stay healthy.