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Marine Marketers of America, Boating Writers International Co-Host Miami Boat Show Program and Keynote Panel Presentation

Editors, Marketers to Address "How the Digital Revolution Has Changed What Editors Want From Freelancers and Marketers"

22 January 2016

Due to the changes to the Miami International Boat Show this year, Marine Marketers of America (MMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) are partnering on a joint program from 8–10 a.m. on Friday, February 12, onsite at the show’s Waterside Café and VIP Lounge, immediately adjacent to the water taxi drop-off. Highlights of the joint meeting include presentations to the winners of BWI’s annual writers contest, recognition of MMA’s annual Neptune Award winners, plus a panel presentation featuring seasoned marine editors and publicists/marketers. The joint event is free of charge and sponsored by the National Marine Electronics Association, Freedom Boat Club and the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The panel, entitled “How the Digital Revolution Has Changed What Editors Want From Freelancers and Marketers,” addresses the changes that have taken place in recent years in the dynamic between editors and outside content providers. Editors, long considered the “gatekeepers” presiding over what gets published, face a daunting task as they juggle changes wrought by the digital revolution, downsized staff and a new generation of tech-savvy readers and content providers. Marketers and publicists who want their messages and stories published or picked up, will have the opportunity to hear firsthand what editors expect.

To sort it out, long-time BWI and MMA Director Michael Sciulla will moderate an all-star panel of editors, freelancers and marketers/publicists including: Gary Beckett, Owner/VP Turnkey Communications & Public Relations; Kevin Falvey, Editor-in-Chief, Boating; Marilyn Mower, Editorial Director-USA at Boat International Media; David Pilvelait, COO of Home Port Marketing; Jim Rhodes, President/CEO of Rhodes Communications; and Bill Sisson, Editor-in-Chief, Soundings Publications.

Prior to the event, Sciulla engaged targeted audiences online via various marine forums and platforms, resulting in lively debate. Some of the candid commentary included the following excerpts from journalists and marketers alike.

Phil Friedman, a former editor at Power and Motoryacht says, “We’ve seen a growing emphasis on visuals, more compact copy structure and a trend toward what I call ‘social media style’.” Videographer Ed Kukla hopes editors will provide some guidelines for providing video content. Jim Rhodes, President/CEO of Rhodes Communications says, “The 24-hour online news cycle has changed the game … now we’re seeing instant gratification.”

That said, not everyone is happy with the current state of affairs.

Boat International Media Editorial Director, Marilyn Mower, says, “I can't believe the amateur or otherwise bad PR I receive on a daily basis.” Her thoughts are echoed by custom publisher, Brad Kovach: “Many of the story ideas/queries I receive are unimaginative, hackneyed, overdone ... just bad. Some are not, but for the person seeking paying work, the difference is crucial. Ideas need to be fresh and fully developed. Don't throw me topics; throw me fully formed pitches with new and creative thoughts, angles and perspectives.”

Boating magazine Editor-in-Chief, Kevin Falvey, put it this way: “In this era, an editor-in-chief's job is akin to playing multi-dimensional chess: success demands more than simply operating on multiple levels. To win, an EIC must exploit the intersections between all the layers and levels--journalistic, business, technology, personnel, and more--and in so doing, deepen and widen audience engagement with the brand and its extensions.”

While editors certainly have their pet peeves, freelancers are equally frustrated.

Current editor and freelancer Stephen Blakely says, “Editors increasingly depend on freelance, especially as their overlords continue to throw paid staff over the side to escape salary/benefit costs. Seems to me editors tend to have their own stable of freelancers and keep the barn door shut. I would suggest editors keep their eyes open to new talent and at least have the courtesy to reply to qualified pitches, even when the answer is no.”

Stay tuned: the debate and discussion continues in Miami.