Digital Directions: Keepers of the Brand
While there are indeed individuals (non-professionals) spending a large percentage of their waking hours doing a fine job editing Wikipedia entries, I would counter that they, in fact, have become editors. They just are not getting paid for it. Maybe they should.
• Reference-ability. Content generated through a known, understood and credible editorial process often has more value as a reference source than content that is not the result of such a process. This is most clearly seen in the case of content from scientific and scholarly journals, but also is true of general reference, news and professional information. Reference-ability increases the value of content and is a direct result of the editorial role. The increasing use of online systems for peer review does not signal the end of the editor’s role. Such systems are merely additional editorial tools that have diminished value when not used by editors.
Keepers of the Brand
The digital content landscape is fluid. Content can dynamically change configuration and appearance based upon the device through which it is delivered and the manner in which it is combined with other elements. However, underlying content quality and reference-ability are immutable characteristics even in such a dynamic milieu, and these characteristics are the result of the editorial role.
Further, these characteristics are essential aspects of a content provider’s brand. Editors, therefore, are critical keepers of the value of the publisher’s brand.
In the world of dynamic, customized, digital content, immersed as it is in the soup of Wikis, tweets and Diggs, the importance of a publisher’s brand does not diminish. On the contrary, it becomes even more important to distinguish the publisher’s offerings from the cacophony that surrounds it.
Brand value, in turn, directly drives the ability to monetize content, whether through advertising, licensing, subscription or other forms of delivery.