We encouraged them. We cajoled them. And, if necessary, pushed them. Editors of traditional B2B media have had a tough time trying to manage the tricky task of maintaining quality on their print product while constantly expanding the online offering. I should know having been editor of three titles over 14 years.
But just when they thought the extent of the digital revolution had become clear, another great change hove into sight. So if they were focused on the flow of news stories for years, then tried to get their head around social networking and user generated content more recently, along comes the birth of a new journalism that is collaborative, open, linked-up and non-precious – the indefatigable digital identity of the editor. Shall we call it Editor 3.O?
Here is my guide, stage by stage
EDITOR 1.O (say 1999-2005)
Actually a daily flow of news is a real achievement. But the web gives a sense of space not often felt in print. So if you could only have six sections in your mag’, why not 28 on your website?
Most likely to say “My readers are so backwards, they never even look at the web”
Least likely to say “I’ve kept my best stories for the web”
Employs A web editor
EDITOR 2.O (say 2006-2008)
Comments on stories, then pictures of events, it is not much of a leap into pictures and copy by readers. But the real step is into social networking which has been taken up by very few B2Bs, the rare exception being TTG Live with Face of Travel (readers voting on each other) and YourSpace.
Most likely to say “Look at that horrible hair”
Least likely to say “I really respect the intellect and quality of analysis of that guy who regularly comments”
Employs A community editor
EDITOR 3.O (say 2008….)
Editor is a brand leader. Blogosphere provides indefatigable digital identity with links in and out to several organisations. No one worries anymore that traffic will be lost. News is the specialism of Editor 3.O, distributed by Google or AP (see Jeff Jarvis’ Buzzmachine plus comments) shared with other aggregators or even competitors. I once asked whether a digital business needs a website. Does Editor 3.O or its journalists need a website either?
Most likely to say “Let’s add our contribution to that breaking news story”
Least likely to say “I am removing my competitor from my blog roll”
Employs Google, AP, Technorati, friendfeed