Are Editors Canaries in the Coal Mine?

We all know how challenging the economy is, and telecom is not immune. There are certainly signs of life out there, but more often than not I'm hearing about people out of work, projects that are either being downsized or held up, or companies running out of money or being acquired.

In the past few days, there have been two high profile departures from Editors well known to anyone following telephony and IP. Last week, we all heard about TMC's Greg Galitzine and his decision to leave this space for entirely greener pastures. Aside from the fact that he's my point of contact for my Service Provider Views column, he's a regular go-to guy for many of us, and is probably TMC's most visible voice aside from Rich Tehrani. I'll say it here and now - Greg will be missed - great guy, and I wish him all the best.

Following this is today's news about Doug Mohney, another veteran Editor with a wide following. Most recently he's been with Fierce Markets, and I've known him for some time, with VON Magazine being his previous stop.

So, that's two well-known Editorial departures in the past 3 business days. Hmm. You don't need me to tell you how challenged the publishing industry is, and combine this with how squeezed telecom is now, I have to wonder aloud if this is the canary in the coal mine. Editors are by-and-large at the top of the food chain for handling the news, and when they start moving on, something must be up. I have no doubt that the transition from Publishing 1.0 to Publishing 2.0 will be just as calamatous as what telecom is going through, so it's doubly troubling when the news is about publishing in the telecom space. I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear more news items like this, and I also wouldn't be surprised to see a wave of consolidation happening later this year among publishers/show producers in our space.

Like telecom and television, the business model is broken. There just aren't enough traditional ad dollars to go around, especially to subsidize content that nobody is willing to pay for. Ugh. Something has to give here, and it would be naive to think that the industry can survive solely on Google-style ads. As they say, the best innovation happens in desperate times, and my takeaway from Greg and Doug's news is that publishing is ripe for change - but nobody yet seems to have the answer.