Sunday, January 27, 2008

Slow Publishing

jen and i have been engaged in a deep discussion among ourselves, our staff, and our partners about the print aspect of our little multi-media empire. we are all about finding the most sustainable ways to do what we do, which includes minimizing the resources burned up to produce everything - money (a vital aspect of any sustainable business), being one of those resources.

although we do everything we can to minimize any negative impact environmentally, printing the magazine is the least 'green' of our outlets. but, we both feel strongly about the need for a tangible product to hold onto and read. maybe we are old-fashioned, but we both still like a good magazine for varying reasons.

the wide variety of ages in our demographic range is one of the reasons we are a multi-media company. we know as well as anyone in this business that there is a huge shift to electronic broadcasting and the younger among us is already there.

this is forcing those of us weaned on print media to start thinking, writing, and editing in smaller bits of information. our editorial attention span is shrinking rapidly. (you can see why i love this blogging thing - don't feel the 300-500 word count constraint here).

jen and i both have a resistance to giving up the print concept, even though it would be soooooooo much easier on us in so many ways. perhaps it represents a loss of some editorial structure or integrity that just don't seem to exist in the same way on the web.

sometimes what we want to say or what needs to be shared can't be said well or distributed effectively through an electronic-only platform.

we were ranting about this friday, when jen came up with a brilliant concept - slow publishing. we are both supporters of the slow food movement and think that in many ways there could be a parellel. the most glaring analogy being slowing down enough to appreciate what is presented and how it nourishes us, where it comes from and how it came into being.

can we really do this when are reading things in 'txt msg' sized bytes of information boiled down to 3-letter initial-cap phrases, like LOL, TTYL, BRB . . . if you want to know what these mean, talk to one of your teenage children or friends. we're eliminating full words, vowels, and of course capital letters in many cases (yes, i'm one of THOSE folks that loves to stream-write casually - guilty.).

not that these things don't have a place and aren't part of an innovate move towards some positive aspects of a new information age, but do we have to let go of everything from the old school? and does it mean i'm old because i still like to read those long, and mostly thought-provoking articles in the New York Times Magazine on sundays (even if it takes me a couple of days to finish them!)?

so much of what we talk about when we share ideas for practical sustainable living is a return to common sense or more traditional ways of doing things, which so often was a simpler and less wasteful way of being. when my grandmother used to carefully and painfully slowly unwrap a gift so that she could fold up the wrapping paper and reuse it, it wasn't becuase she was concerned for trees or the impact of paper production or global warming. it was because she came from a generation that didn't waste because they didn't have the money or these items just weren't as easy to come by as they are today.

okay, enough for now.

how do you feel about 'slow publishing'?



Kim said...

Slow publishing sounds good to me. I'm one of those who likes to hold a book or magazine in hand. But I read newspapers on-line (I hate getting newsprint on my hands. A little OCD). I'm alittle behind technologically: no Ipod so I can't listen to podcasts. Have you done podcasts?

Meg & Jen said...

well, the podcast thing is a constant source of debate. we are posting our show archives on our website, but they are HUGE files and take about 2 minutes to upload for listening.

our shows are an hour long, which is probably too long for most podcasts.

it is on the LIST of things to work on this year!