Editor of Report on Business leaves Globe to be director of content strategy for Rogers Publishing
There's a good deal of crashing around in the undergrowth about the announced departure of Derek DeCloet as editor of the Globe and Mail's Report on Business to join Rogers Publishing as director of content strategy for its magazines. Various people in the Twitterverse have referred to their sadness at the "crushing news" and the loss of the "soul of the ROB". (ed. note: Phew).
His departure was announced to the staff by Globe editor John Stackhouse in these very gracious terms, given that he's losing an important lieutenant:
Derek will be director of content strategy for Rogers Publishing, leading the editorial operations of their consumer magazines, including Maclean's, Canadian Business, Chatelaine, MoneySense and Sportsnet Magazine. It’s an enormous opportunity and exciting challenge as Derek will lead a group of 300 journalists and be charged with setting a new digital direction for them and their magazines.
Rogers’ gain is very much the Globe’s loss. Since joining us in 2003, Derek has established himself as one of the country’s most respected business journalists and one of the Globe’s most beloved editors. He started as a reporter in the ROB and became our Vox columnist that year. After six years of business writing, he was appointed managing editor of the section in 2009 and ROB Editor in 2012. Like many in the newsroom, I have come to rely on Derek’s wise counsel, calm confidence, sharp journalistic insight and, most of all, unwavering human decency.
He will be missed here by many, none more than me.The hire is another apparently shrewd move by the recently elevated Steve Maich, senior vice-president and general manager publishing, who in recent days has been renovating the whole magazine division moving to a group publisher structure. Presumably those group publishers will be working closely with DeCloet.
Since DeCloet's last day is Friday, it's worth noting that one of his last articles for the paper is about how media companies need to imitate airlines in order to cope with changing times.
Legacy media companies are facing difficult times. The causes and symptoms are not so different from the ones airlines had a decade ago: union agreements from a previous century, falling revenue, disappearing profit margins. The business also suffers from a glut of capacity. In a digital age, there are simply too many websites, publications and TV channels chasing advertisers.
Media companies continue to look for answers. But what the airlines proved is that there isn’t a single answer. There are many—and some involve doing uncomfortable things they would never have considered in better times.
For instance: The financial state of the business suggests that big media companies should look for merger partners. It also points to the need for bold experiments in making the user pay. Many news outlets have brought in paywalls to get their heaviest readers to pay more. Magazines and newspapers are taking up the price of printed copies or ceasing distribution of their product in places where it doesn’t make economic sense. (The Globe and Mail has done some of these things.)
But most old media companies, like the airlines of 2004, haven’t gone nearly far enough in trying out new business models and new ways of charging their customers. They will. Desperate times will force them to.Hmmm.