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Publishing layoffs continue, thanks to the King’s Consort

Last week the EDA community learned that well-known editor Michael Santarini and EiC Maury Wright were laid-off from EDN magazine (Reed publication). Rumor has it that Alan Robinson – EDN’s publisher – was also let go.

Looking beyond the ever shrinking EDA world, one sees the bigger picture: Report: Reed Elsevier planning to cut more than 1,000 jobs. This very brief story in BtoB states that “Reed Business Information plans to eliminate more than 1,000 jobs as part of a continuing efficiency drive…? These cuts will occur over the next two years. Although Reed Elsevier will present their annual results on Wednesday (2/20/08), it seems unclear whether these job cuts will be acknowledged.

As so many former editors and PR colleagues have noted, the publishing world is in a time of dramatic upheaval. They note that layoffs and market restructurings are to be expected. How will these turbulent times play out? The optimists among us suggest that content is still king and the only thing changing is the delivery mechanism of that content. But I wonder? If content is king, then delivery is the queen consort. My secret fear is that the king is exiting and the queen (delivery) will rule in his stead. [“Exit the King,? comes to mind, an oddly disturbing play.] Indeed, it’s hard not to feel that today’s readers seem more interested in delivery than content, in FaceBook than the printed book. Content providers – such as editors and journalists – may be the ones exiting the kingdom. For example, several former EDA editors and EiCs are now exiled (willingly, I agree) behind corporate walls, their skills no longer available to the free press. Others have had to change careers completely.

Hmmm…. perhaps my analogy is wrong. If delivery is the driving requirement, not content, then I should be quoting from Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.? But that thought it too depressing and I’ve already wandered too far a field for this blog …

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