OLD Media Moves

Forbes execs: 25 percent job turnover in last 2 1/2 years at mag

September 10, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer of Forbes, and Mike Perlis, the chief executive officer of Forbes, were interviewed for Riptide, an oral history of the collision between journalism and technology.

Here is an excerpt:

Lewis: As I look back over however long it is, to Mike’s point here, you had even at AOL or wherever you were, it was print journalists trying to figure out a new medium. Over those years, there developed a whole group of digital journalists, people who only grew up in that medium, who actually used it. The print journalists weren’t using it; they were just filling it, right? But you had people out there using it. And soon they moved into the professional workforce and they became bankers and journalists too. Right?

And they made their way into journalistic organizations because they used it, they grew up on it. And that started to change with content on the web digitally. To the point that Mike just made, in the last two and a half years 25 percent of the current Forbes editorial product work started in the last two and a half years. Think about that.

Mike: And we haven’t increased the head count. So correspondingly, that means 25 percent or more left.

Lewis: And none of those 25%, this is not saying, oh, a reporter for a reporter. All new skill sets. All new skill sets that never existed here because these are the people who grew up using this from birth who became journalists and part of the media world. That’s what’s really changed.

Martin: And talk about the benefits and trade offs of this a little bit.

Lewis: Well, it’s funny, I actually think about that a lot right now. The benefits are that there are people who the technology is who they are. They understand it. They live and breathe it. It’s just natural. They don’t have to think about it. They think how people communicate and use content and the benefits cascade from there.

There are some regrets in this when I look at it that most of those folks coming on have never had that classical journalistic fundamental education. Right? It’s just a generation that skipped all that. And there are some core things that you really need to know. And the economics of the industry don’t enable them to be taught so much.

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