The future of publishing?!

The only certain thing is that the future of publishing is not going to be on paper.

This post is dedicated to Kari Kuukka(and everyone else working in journalism), one of my dearest colleagues here in Finland, who posted a very interesting story about his coverage of the independence reception(the biggest annual event in the finnish media).

Although I have up to this point done very little journalistic work(this is going to change – thanks Brandy), here are a few of my thoughts on the future of publishing:

While Karis blog post in itself gives you a good insight about the pace and intesity of our work at events like these(or any important¹ event for that matter), there is one thing that keeps bugging me, and that is the trend towards being a jack of all trades (and master of none).

Unless you work for one of the big agencies like Reuters, Getty or the like you’ll most likely not have the funds to commission an app like the one Reuters used for the Olympics on your own, which at the moment leaves us with two options:

  1. DIY (Do It Yourself)
  2. Don’t do it at all

People who know me, know that I like to say:
“If you do something, do it right, or don’t do it at all.”

Which is why I personally really hope that some smart programmers(Hallo Rod!) will come up with a simple (customizable) app for multimedia publishing on mobile(/web)-devices and provide us with a simple but solid solution for these publishing needs (I’m talking about a software that I can run on my server, not some fancy 3rd party service).

Take my website for example:
For many years I always created my own websites from scratch and for years I was reluctant to make the move to the solution I use now, because I felt that if I was in control of all the work, it would make it easier for me to understand and use it(I was wrong).
However, now that I made the move, I’m very glad I did, since I don’t have to spend time on coding, testing and debuging stuff anymore(which by the way still -despite my hard efforts- won’t come even near the level on which professional solutions like those from my friends from codegestalt run).
Don’t get me wrong I don’t have anything against coding, I used to like it a lot, it’s just that today I would prefer to focus on creating the best possible photographs for my clients.
(Afterall we use the best imaging equipment available for the same reason – to be able not to think about the camera, but to focus entirely on the image we want to create.)
And I’m certain my clients would prefer it too.

So is there demand for independent multimedia publishing software that is focused on online multimedia content with high compability for mobile devices? I think yes, absolutely!
I know I would buy such a software right away, because even though in the past I used to like programming quite a lot, there is a reason why I chose to become a photographer:

Before I opted to earn my living from photography, I used to be a hardcore nerd and only decided to focus on photography because I wanted to spend max. 6-10hours a day in front of a computer instead of 24.

And I will always remember the first meeting I had with Nik Van-Eckmann a veteran of the film industry(bbc, national geographic and more) for a documentary project and how he emphasised that he neither wanted nor needed a jack of all trades (and master of none) on his crew and I think his point is still valid, though I think we all agree that having a certain level of understanding of all the other disciplines(which today includes coding) is essential.

Because although the solution Kari came up with for his client is a solid piece of work and much better than anything I could pull off at the moment (at least with ipad compability), if you read his blog you’ll notice under what kind of pressure the software put him, whereas for my coverage of the Wildlife Festival(similar shooting/working conditions) I was able to focus on getting the shots I wanted for an average of 18h a day and I knew that when I had the images ready for publishing I would just have to upload them and not wreck my nerves on any software issues.
So if there was an easy yet good solution for multimedia publishing that is developed and sold, but not run by a third party company, for Kari that could’ve made the difference between working and sleeping during the night.

In the future there will hopefully be an additional option to the two mentioned above, which does not force story-tellers (no matter the discipline) to code their own platform.


TL;DR: I believe there is a high demand for an independent mobile&web multimedia platform with the possibility of seamless integration into existing news distribution frameworks.
(In the same way that wordpress and the like exist for blogging today.)


¹personally I try my best not to develop any routine and treat every event I cover equally (I’m sure most photographers have the same mindset — the lazy ones however are easily spotted)

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