Throughout the first trimester of my master’s degree at Edinburgh Napier University, I have been exposed to varied aspects of the publishing industry, but one particular pertinent topic holds a great deal of interest for me. You don’t have to be studying publishing to be aware of the dramatic affect digitalization has had on the industry. As an industry heavily reliant on printed works, it is not surprising that the increased dominance of digitalization has created a large amount of uncertainty regarding the future of publishing. However, as I now reach the end of the trimester, the questions regarding the continued relevance of print in publishing is more potent than I could even imagine. It is a question that most publishers struggle to find an answer to, whether to embrace the digital age or remain loyal to print. I recently attended a lecture by Roy Greenslade (Professor of Journalism at City University London) who posed the question ‘can journalism survive the death of the newspaper’ at the University of Edinburgh. This lecture demonstrated to me that there is a fair amount of cynicism regarding the future of print from the traditionalists in the industry. Perhaps as an individual just beginning to enter the industry, I have a more enthusiastic and optimistic view on the role of publishing in the digital age. There is so much possibility for publishing businesses to expand on a global level that would have been unthinkable before the digital age. I am confident that like other industries, publishing will learn to adapt and survive. But in order to do so it needs to embrace this new era and recognize the positive affects that digitalization can have on an industry.
The digital age has granted the industry access to a global audience. The most obvious in-house department affected would be marketing. After having spent a year working in marketing, I began to understand the impact digitalization has had on the changing nature of its strategies. Printed advertising now has a much smaller impact than, for example, a social media campaign. Internet campaigns have a much larger potential reach than printed, there really is no comparison between the potential of a digital marketing campaign and a print. I never thought that I would find this subject quite as fascinating as I do. I enjoy watching how an industry chooses to adapt to a new environment. This is such an interesting age we are living in, one where it is more important than ever to find a balance between adapting, yet sustaining the integrity of publishing.
In the process of researching for my case study (Vice Media LLC), I became more aware that the success of a company is closely linked to their approach to digitalization. This case study provided me with a much wider understanding on how a publishing company can thrive in the digital age. The emerging generations are now less likely to buy a printed magazine or newspaper; instead they expect to find content for free. This realization begged the question; can we expect to maintain the integrity of editorial content whilst ensuring the survival of publishing houses? This is a question I am looking forward to exploring throughout the Edinburgh Napier publishing course.