So, it’s been a good three months now that I’ve left The Edge as Assistant Editor of New Media after barely hanging on during the culling period. And many — including my parents — have wondered if such a move was a wise one: replacing a steady paycheck for an unstable series of opportunities as freelance writer/producer doesn’t sound like the sanest thing to do after all.
Having been in the media line for about eight years now, starting with KLue, then on to FHM, Chrome, KLue again, NewMan and then The Edge, I found myself at the crossroads again in how I could progress in my career in media. At The Edge, I could’ve opted to start again as a rookie reporter — that was what the Editors were nudging towards — or go back to the magazine world.
Having invested all my time in jumping up the editorial ladder in the magazine world, going back to being a rookie business reporter wasn’t in the cards for me. And although the offer to go back into the magazine world was tempting (a certain men’s magazine job was tabled), the media landscape had changed so much, and I felt there was a lot more to be done in the digital space rather than the dead tree space.
I got into the business of writing to tell stories worth telling about, and after discovering the podcasting medium through TWiT and Revision3, I realised how there were so many ways to tell a story beyond printed words. The promise of the Web as a space for visual, audio, and text-based storytelling was too tempting not to venture into — even though it would cost me the regularity of a much better paycheck.
In creating the podcasts in my stable: TechBeat (formerly known as The Digital Edge), OmNomShow, and The Life Online Show — I’ve begun to embrace the concept of media agnosticity that NY Times’s Nick Bilton wrote about in “I Live In The Future, and This Is How It Works”, a book about how young people are consuming and producing media — and how old media fogies can learn from them. It’s not about the medium, he wrote, but about the story. And that story could be told in different mediums — and thanks to what the Web can do, users are not bound to hoping their letter gets chosen by a magazine/newspaper editor to be heard.
The point is, the media landscape is changing fast to favour a visual and auditory form of storytelling (yes, even in Malaysia) and being a media junkie, I want to be a part of that change rather than reacting to it. Yeah, there are bills to worry about, and hopefully I’ll get enough regular paying work to keep the water, Internet and TV running — but for now, I’m much happier going out on my own and enjoying the freedom to tell new stories in new mediums. I’ve got my podcast network running with ZineRadio (under construction for now), and I’m contributing to startup/entrepreneurship watchblog e27.sg — which gives me the opportunity to meet like-minded people.
And there’s also the opportunity to blog more. Which I hope, dear readers, I will do more often.
John Lim can be found on about.me/john.lim