Indie & The Ecosystem of Publishing

Support Independent Fieldwork, Writing and Publishing

Technology innovations have provided us with a plethora of powerful tools for creating and disseminating print and digital media content in today's publishing ecosystem. Compare the available tools online today with those used when my career in design and journalism first began, long before there were computers: pica poles, proportional scale wheels, Exacto knives, clip art books, typesetting machines. Photos were halftone images developed to size in the dark room, not manipulated in PhotoShop. Borders were applied using Formaline tape. Proofreading and copy editing were done without the help of spell check or Grammarly.  Publishing was a whole different game back before computers ruled the universe.

The rise of online publishing has ushered in a new era of content creation and access to media, with these innovations we are witnessing the decline of print publications and erosion of journalism as an industry.

As has been the case with many other industries, career positions in publishing have been largely replaced with contract and freelance gigs, when you can get them. Many of the best media organizations today rely upon uncompensated content contributions. This trend has left many journalists and editors struggling to craft sustainable careers in an industry where paid careers are increasingly difficult to sustain.

 

Yet the technology available today has opened up a whole new universe of opportunity for independent journalism, publishing, and creative research and media projects. The publishing ecosystem is evolving to adapt to these challenges, with new models for supporting quality work from indie and freelance writers, journalists, photographers and visual artists, and independent publishers.

 

In an environment where trust in the media has seriously eroded, media outlets and individual journalists are developing committed audiences who value high quality and reliable content. Innovations in platforms specifically designed to manage funding development for serious independent creatives and start up media outlets, many of them based on crowdfunding models (some of which are participatory in nature) such as Patreon and Pactio, are making it possible to both make a living at their craft, and grow mutually empowering relationships with their audiences.

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