Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Mac Slocum

December 19, 2009 by  
Filed under PublishingTalks

mac-slocumIn this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I am talking to book industry professionals who have varying perspectives and thoughts about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.

Publishing has been a crucial part of human culture for as long as people have been writing and reading.  How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and its economics? Publishing Talks interviews help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds. Publishing Talks interviews give people in the book business a chance to talk about ideas and concerns in a public forum that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends.

This series of talks will give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear about some of the thoughts, ideas and concepts that are currently being discussed by engaged individuals within the industry.

Today’s interview is with Mac Slocum, whose experience is in a variety of different media, including newspapers, books and online media.  I know him from his work at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change and his eponymous blog which is among those I read most frequently.  He’s currently at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard and freelancing projects in media and here’s his interesting bio from his website:

I am a Web guy. I write, edit, produce, develop, manage and code Web content.
I’ve worked as an online editor, writer and producer at a variety of outlets (publishing, film, TV, electronics, trade, tech, hyper-local, national/international … you name it). Through all of these experiences, I’ve remained committed to the Web as a platform. I love the thing, and I love working to make it better.
My areas of interest/expertise include:
* Development of Web-friendly content (writing and editing)
* Audience development via social media (blogs, Twitter, social networks)
* Web production (HTML, CSS, Movable Type and other content management systems)
* Independent publishing
* Web journalism education
* Pontificating, analyzing and consulting on the future of publishing/journalism, digital distribution, Web content, and audience aggregation (Note: If you’re in a rush, don’t ever get me started on piracy and free content …)
I have organized conferences, spoken on panels, and moderated sessions (and I actually enjoyed these activities).
I teach Web journalism courses at Emerson College and I’m a contributor on Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits blog. I also run a number of independent Web sites and I’m owner of The Fodder Network.

Mac and I had an interesting conversation, covering a range of topics under the overall rubric of media change, how consumers and producers interact, continuing disruption of business models for all traditional media forms, and how those businesses must change in the future, both near term and longer.  Mac’s view of the future for publishers is positive and worth listening to.

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