The Future of Publishing: An Interview with Owen Thomas, Editor-in-Chief, ReadWrite

owen thomas

The debate surrounding the future of online publishing is an interesting one. On one hand, it’s easier than ever to create, share, and find all kinds of content on the web, however, that low barrier to entry means that publishers’ voices are increasingly hard to hear, and that the value of content is often diminished. As a result, the future of publishing is kind of hazy, but one thing that we do know is that there will be more—lots more.In a recent interview from San Francisco, Murray Newlands sits down with Owen Thomas from ReadWrite to talk about the current state of online publishing, how it’s changed over the years, and where it’s headed in the future. Plus, Owen shares some of his own personal tips and insights for both online publishers and consumers.

To find out more, watch the full interview below:

These are they key takeaways from the video:

  • The overall focus of the interview is online publishing—where it is now, and where it’s headed. At the start of the conversation, Owen talks about the future of online publishing, saying that it’s likely going to be widely distributed, but that it will be distributed unevenly. What he means by this is that there are a lot of people with the access to tools to publish, but they don’t lack an audience. And, with more and more publishers out there, it will be increasingly difficult to gain an audience and maintain it.
  • Another consequence of the new publishing environment, Owen contends, is that you have to have a personality, a perspective, or a stance on your subject matter and stick to it in every single article. With so many people publishing content online, readers will visit only the websites that interest them and that take a hyper-focused position on a subject, often times one that aligns with their own ideas or preferences. Thus, it’s important to reiterate your perspective in every post and come at every article you write or share from the same viewpoint.
  • After talking a bit more about publishing, the interview switches its focus to public relations and Owen addresses similar questions about the future of PR and how it’s changed over the years. He starts by saying that PR people need to take a step back and ask themselves whether they’re “in the business of public relations, or in the business of hassling journalists.” He continues on to explain that PR has slowly shifted from building relationships with customers and journalists, to merely pitching journalists branded material to try and get free marketing opportunities. Ultimately, this isn’t what PR is and isn’t how it’s supposed to work, and Owen argues that in order for brands to succeed moving forward, they need to put the emphasis back on the public rather than themselves and their advertising.
If you have any questions after watching the video, please leave them in the comments below!
You can also catch Owen speaking at the upcoming PR Summit Conference in San Francisco, for which YourStory is a proud media sponsor.

Murray Newlands

Murray Newlands

Murray Newlands is YourStory’s US Correspondent and Deputy Editor of Search Engine Journal. Murray founded The Mail in 2013, an angel-funded startup publication covering performance marketing and mobile marketing. Murray is an advisor to a number of bay area startups and has authored several books.