Monday, September 22, 2008
Who can you trust?

The rules of publishing have changed. Established players are still important – and, for the most part, trusted – but they’re no longer the only route to getting your message out to a wide audience. Now anyone can put together a website and make him or herself* look respectable – whether they know what they’re doing or not.

I’m not saying this to be critical – there’s green grass on both sides of the hill. But it’s become a lot harder to find the true experts, especially if it’s in a field that’s not your own, as is true of the web for many (if not most) in the magazine industry. It’s a game of Where’s Waldo when you don’t know what you’re looking for.

The truth is, this isn’t rocket science, it’s social science – and therefore harder to pin down. The functionality of the web is a constantly evolving target, and as such there are no experts in “the web” as a whole, only those who’ve experimented with varying degrees of success. You can definitely find consultants, companies and future employees who know a lot and have a great deal of relevant and useful experience. But anyone who claims to have all the answers to all your problems is lying (or just has a really big ego).

So how do you find help when you need it? First, decide on your goals. Then treat it like a job interview – ask for resumes, interview thoroughly and do a good reference check. Make sure what they’re offering fits your original goals and your needs. And if they’re promising you the moon, turn on your skepticism filter.

* The linguist in me wants to know if “themself” will ever become an established English word. I think we’re heading that way, but I’m not ready to use it yet, even if I’m okay with “they” and “their” as a singular in colloquial use (and even though my brain tries to form it). There’s obviously a collectively felt need for a gender-neutral singular pronoun. Feel free to comment on this too.

- Kat Tancock
About Me
Kat Tancock
Kat Tancock is a freelance writer, editor and digital consultant based in Toronto. She has worked on the sites of major brands including Reader's Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living, Homemakers, Elle Canada and Style at Home and teaches the course Creating Website Editorial at Ryerson University.
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I'm there says:
breesir, to answer your question, the reason magazines don't have dedicated web editors is quite sim...
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