A magazine brings its editors out into the open

By Steve Outing

So I’m reading the June 2006 issue of Bike magazine. (Which is a gorgeous, slick publication published by Primedia.) After a few pages of ads and the table of contents, I come to the editor’s column, “Beaming Down to the Surface,” by Mike Ferrentino. He’s writing about something I feel passionate about. I’m surprised and pleased.

The point of the column is that Bike, at Ferrentino’s direction, is allowing its readers to see the guts of the operation, to open up to readers by injecting more of the personalities of the people who produce the magazine. He writes:

“Should we be an anonymous collective, writing words and passing judgements (sic) with no personal editorializing, and subsequently no personal accountability? Or should we lay it out there bare for the readership to see, fully human, with all our shortcomings and blind spots clearly defined?”

Ferrentino has opted for the latter, and directed his staff to shift in that direction. He hints at some dissention: “Not everyone agrees that this is a wise way to run a magazine, but I’m the boss, and that’s where we are going.”

Bravo! I think that in a media environment where bloggers and others are “laying it all out bare” on the Internet — and often being rewarded for that — it’s anachronistic and just plain unwise to hide the people producing a media product behind a bland corporate wall. That’s the old way of media. It’s clearly time for the new.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!