Apparently, a main theme coming out of the July 2011 Yale Publishing Conference was that ‘fear’ was at the center of all the chaos in the modern publishing world.
This is true … But, duhhhh, who didn’t already understand that! Of course it’s fear of change that is holding publishing back from being all it can be.
Fear of change and the unknown (or not understood) has always been a prevalent weakness for most Homo sapiens.
Stefanie Botelho, writing for FOLIO Magazine, covered the conference:
If Print Isn’t Dead, Why is Publishing Still in Trouble?
Reasons why explored at Yale Publishing Conference.
At the Yale Publishing Conference, which took place last month in New Haven, CT, big names in magazine publishing were in attendance, both as students and teachers.
The session began with Richard Foster, senior faculty fellow at Yale School of Management and managing partner with the Millbrook Management Group, LLC. He philosophized about the term “creative destruction”, focusing its various implications in correlation to the publishing world.
Subsequent sessions led by Michael Clinton, president and marketing/publishing director of Hearst; president of Dwell Media Michela O’Connor Abrams; and Glamour editor-in-chief Cynthia Leive ran the gamut of print, digital and staffing challenges.
But the biggest theme, prevalent in how speakers addressed the crowd and the audience pressed the presenters for immediate solutions to admittedly complex problems (the transition to digital, etc.), was not listed in the printed program.
It was fear.
And that may be the largest issue the publishing industry is facing today: fear of the present, fear of the future, fear of the audience and, perhaps the most crippling, fear of change.
While not as easily palpable in the speakers (who each provided case study after case study of success within their companies), both lecturers and audience members rippled with it. Age jokes were dropped at a noticeable rate (O’Connor Abrams quipped she and only one other staffer are over 30) and tales of staff let go because of unwillingness to convert to the digital age (and assist in the bevy of products unrelated to actual print issues) were some of the most poignant of the day. The message was clear: get onboard or get out, because there are plenty of others to take your seat at the publishing table—many of them young enough to still be crashing with Mom and Dad.