With the continued softness in medical and pharmaceutical print advertising, Advanstar’s reorganization of its Healthcare Group around an online portal called ModernMedicine.com isn’t that much of a surprise.
But what does raise eyebrows is the blunt editorial critique of Advanstar Life Science Group executive president Steve Morris. And he may be right. Editors who aren’t adapting to the online opportunity may soon find themselves called out by the business side, and rightfully so.
“We’ve reduced the editorial count on our traditional books because the books have less frequency and fewer pages,” says Morris. “The money is moving over to the Web side or the project side. We’re trying to move people into those roles. I said to everybody, ‘Whatever you’re doing today is going to change in six months. You can be part of that change or I’m going to change that.’”
“I said to editors, “We have a generation of doctors who grew up in the age of Google,” continues Morris. “When you Google something, you don’t get a 1,000 word story on it. You get a thousand choices of two-line stories. That’s how people consume information today. We have to look at our journals that way and re-engineer it.”
The new editorial role isn’t just about producing good content but also strategic planning—including vetting traditional partners and even vendors for content that is valuable to their audience. “When editors start to bring stuff up like partnerships and new opportunities in new sections, then good things are starting to happen and they’re getting the message,” says Morris.