Filling the void of Editor & Publisher

There have been many, many Tweets and blog posts popping up all around the journosphere since the news came down Thursday that Editor & Publisher, the 125-year-old trade publication covering the newspaper industry, would be folding at the end of the year.

Like many of those chiming in, I have to admit that I hadn’t read it all that often in recent years, except for occasional stories posted on its Web site, which is also going away. And like many fellow journalists, I got started reading it during my formative years in the business largely because of the job classifieds.

I hate it that more devoted journalists will be losing their jobs, especially after being blind-sided by the news. Editor Greg Mitchell has been a vocal advocate for journalism with more bite and less timidity, and I’m glad he wants to maintain his strong, passionate voice elsewhere.

But while the passing of E & P symbolizes the state of the industry at the end of a 2009 riddled with newspaper closures and thousands more job losses, it presents new opportunities to chronicle a rapidly changing news media world:

“It’s a sad day, but in a strange way the death of Editor & Publisher gives me hope for the future of journalism. Because they showed us a blueprint, that size or technology is overrated, that a half-dozen people can make a difference just by asking the right questions and by not backing down. And if Greg Mitchell and the others could accomplish this at a small, shrinking trade publication, then I know that it can happen again and will happen again, somewhere else and in some other format — that no-holds-barred journalism is possible.”

Various columns and blogs at the Poynter Institute on the media business and the effects of technology on the news (in addition to Jim Romenesko’s curated media news blog) have been tracking these developments, as has the Nieman Journalism Lab. They are among the increasingly invaluable sources of information to news professionals grappling with massive change.

So are the scores of blogs (a selection here) devoted to the emerging field of online journalism that I began reading several years ago when I made the switch to being a Web journalist. In fact, it was then that I realized rather profoundly I wasn’t in the newspaper industry any longer.

I wish E & P could have continued online. But like the thirst to continue doing the news in new ways, the need to examine the business of doing the news has only begun to proliferate.


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