Get Lost in Leader’s Edge
It's an interesting time to be running a magazine.
I think it’s fair to say that the world of traditional print media has been disrupted. And for those of us who grew up with, and generally enjoy, reading in print, these stats can be hard to take.
The Pew Research Center estimates that daily print newspaper circulation in 2017 was 30.9 million. This is down 11% from the previous year and a decline of more than 50% from the 1984 high of 63.3 million. Many magazine brands are also either ending or severely cutting back their print editions.
So yes, it’s daunting if you focus just on those numbers. That’s much the same, I would guess, as it is for anyone in an industry dealing with digitization and the fallout from that. For example, in this very issue, we report that Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance in Japan laid off more than 30 workers and replaced them with robotic process automation.
But in that same article, we also discuss how the opportunity for brokers in this evolution is to concentrate on the core skills that differentiate them in their clients’ eyes. One of our own thought leaders, Kimberly Paterson, said it best in a column earlier this year:
Increasingly, people are valued based on their ability to do what machines can’t do. Machines can produce and interpret data, but only humans have the critical thinking and creative skills to find ways to apply the data to gain a competitive advantage. Only people have the ability to simulate real human interaction. Reading the minds of others and reacting, interpreting social cues, adapting and playing off each other’s strengths are skills that have evolved in humans over thousands of years.
And it is with this perspective that we have come to an exciting evolution within Leader’s Edge. One of our core skills is storytelling. It has always differentiated Leader’s Edge in the crowded media marketplace. And now, as we face a world in which there is tremendous competition for your time, it is that core skill that we will continue to rely on as we embrace technology in our own realm.
We have been in the process of rethinking our website for roughly the past year. We have thought about what we had as a website—and what we wanted. We had a place to locate our print content in a digital format, but we wanted a destination. We wanted a place where people might come because they are looking for something but would stay because they get lost in the stories. We wanted our digital experience to match our print experience. Leader’s Edge magazine is a forum, a world all its own. A place to tell your stories, to deliver an album, thoughtfully and purposefully selected, to create one complete experience—cover to cover. And we wanted to replicate that digitally because we believe in meeting you where you are. Print, desktop, mobile—it doesn’t matter, we want your experience to be worthwhile and second to none.
And like Paterson says, we are also using the technology to our advantage. Without getting too weedy, we built our new site with the intent that you will explore. Yes, you can find anything you want with our search tool—we made sure of that (and if you can’t, please let me know). But if you have some time, click on the related tags, browse my pick of the week, and read the personal stories of our great industry leaders. Follow the connections we’ve made across our content, and you’ll find our take on the industry over the course of nearly 10 years—sorry, print only prior to 2010!).
With this site, we can add another dimension to the stories we tell, building on them with related content and connecting back to previous work on the same topic. It will allow our past and present to live together in the same space, intermingling to evoke new thoughts and to engage different senses.
Earlier this summer, magazine industry creatives got together for ModMag NYC, a day of talks celebrating the culture of magazines held annually in both New York and London. Folio, reporting on the event, noted that the group in New York focused on answering the question: What is a magazine?
The first speaker was Douglas McGray, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The California Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine—a live, performance-based magazine. McGray’s journey from print media to radio to live performance helped him broaden his vision of what a magazine is and what it could be.
According to Folio, “Before my friends and I started all of this,” he said, “I thought I knew what a magazine was. In part because I didn’t think that hard about it. Now in the last five years I’ve thought a lot about it, and now I have no idea what all a magazine might be, and I really like that.”
We know that many of you are on a journey to discover what your business might become. And we’ve been with you on that journey. Now we invite you to join our journey as we explore what a magazine might be.