John

I’m Back, Baby!

In Personal on November 17, 2008 at 9:02 am

im-back-baby

So, today’s the 17th, which means it’s the start of the third week since I’ve left my post as NewMan’s Editor, and also the third week that I’ve left my brains to rot–by the swimming pool, reading a book, and enjoying life in my new place. Can’t say that I’ve got much to complain about.

In all seriousness, leaving the NewMan job has also given me some time to refocus on the whys and whats of my life in the Media. Truth is, towards the end of my tenure there, I felt drained, uninspired, and having the disturbingly regular fantasy of pouring kerosene on press releases that I’ve to summarise at 11pm in the office.

The reasons why I wanted to become an Ed in the magazine industry–the buzz of telling stories worth telling, taking the time to craft features, coaching new writers–slowly faded away with each passing article that I continued to churn out in the same way one might cough out a hairball. Not that the fault rests on the PR folk (although some fragrance haiku press releases –i.e., ‘life in blossoming flower. The power of masculinity. Undeniable sensuality’–should indeed be doused in their own perfume and burnt to a crisp. That’s how I feel like reading them at 11pm.)

The point is, reflecting and reading a lot during the past couple of weeks has helped me realise why I’m still in the Media biz. I’m grateful for the NewMan gig, and I’ve grown into my role since then. Looking back, however, I was happiest while blogging and writing my New Media column for the mag, WebWatch (ah, the unquestionable power of being an editor). But the last couple of months have taken a lot outta me, thanks to the absence of an editorial staff, and I increasingly found it difficult to write about subjects that keep me passionate about Media.

So here’s what I’ve come to realise in the past couple of weeks, and things that I’ve meant to write down for the longest time (kids, look away–you’ll have heard this lecture before). Media has such an immense power to inform, entertain, influence, and more importantly, change. Change perceptions, change politics, kick-start revolutions–that much we’ve seen in such a profound way in the past year. When I first started out as an Editorial Assistant for KLue, magazines were a major agent for delivering information, but in the short five years since, I’ve seen how influential the Web has become over magazines, and I was itching to do something there.

In the past couple of years, I was increasingly drawn to how the web works, pounding its way into our daily lives, altering the way we consume and divulge information. Thinking of this while being stuck behind a desk at 8pm wondering how I could rewrite the latest Fall/Winter press release was just a frustrating position to be in. It was like dreaming

It’s not that I’m bailing out of print, or that magazines are dead (that’s a debate that I’ve posted before). As web video guru Michael Rosenblum said (video below), journalists are in the information business, not paper. People involved in editorial ultimately want to have as much influence in how the public thinks, and it’s increasingly obvious that the Web is the way to reach to a wider and more involved audience.

Furthermore, it’s clear that the next generation of reporters and media people will become naturally inclined towards New Media. In fact, the next generation won’t see it as New Media or Old Media. They’ll see it as just plain Media. I believe that the ‘Net Generation has an implicit understanding of how media works, and it’s those that say “I’m a print journalist. I don’t do web stuff” who will be found desperately wanting and figuring out why they’re finding it hard to get employed 10 years from now.

They may not know it academically, but the new kids understand what works and what doesn’t for print and digital media. “Don’t tell us what we already know” is the impression I often get when trying to explain what the strengths and weaknesses are of each medium. It’s a strange new medium for many of us who started out at the crossroads of this media revolution (somewhere in the late-90s and early 2000s), and I’ve come to learn that there are two ways of trying to guess where the Web is heading to–watch what the kids are doing, and getting involved in it. I’m trying to do both of ’em.

To those wondering where my next step will be (yes, all five of you), I’ll be stepping into The Edge in December, though it’s something I can’t divulge for too much for now. It’s not “getting into the real serious stuff now huh”, as a friend (yes, that’s you, Melcyl) said last Sunday over coffee, inasmuch as it is about getting passionate about media again. I don’t expect rainbows and butterflies, and long hours are a given, but there’s now a reason to my work beyond just churning out articles. (I’m writing this down so that, whenever I find myself drained and uninspired, I’ve got this post to remember.)

So yes, I’m back to blogging. Boo ya! (Gawd, is that catchphrase still relevant?)

/rant.

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  1. Jimbo’s back bloggin!! Woot Woottt!!!

  2. awesome new layout!

  3. @joon yeah, thought this layout was pretty awesome–there’s some limitations to it, but thought the three column layout looked pretty kick ass.
    You’re still a contributor, btw. Will pay you in beers!

    @mark Hello Smashing Mark! let’s hope we can keep this blog going, heh.

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