As a professional dealer in words and media, I have come to appreciate the endless game of hair-splitting that job titles engender. What is the proper title for me, a media worker who has worn so many hats and occupied so many stations in the production cycle? Sure, my primary station for the past several years has been editing, but even in this one category I've filled so many roles -- acquisitions, developmental, copy editing, proofreading, layout, and publishing -- that it becomes imperative I pick a title that highlights my versatility.
"Editing Specialist" has a decent ring to it, but also sounds just a bit haughty. Further, considering how much time I've spent in copywriting -- producing over twenty ebooks and countless pages of web-based copy in the past year alone -- it doesn't quite get me all the way there. "Freelance Writer & Editor" makes a nice catch-all term, but something about it rings hollow, implying that my future in media will be limited to tasks solely within these two skill sets.
But if we've learned one thing in the past ten years, it's that professionals hoping to succeed in media have to be adaptable, willing to learn new skills quickly and effectively without breaking a sweat. We need to have one ear to the ground, to see how changes in technology, publishing, and social media might affect our professions down the road. Indeed, ten years ago independent media contractors such as myself didn't quite exist in the way we do today. Yet now, through innovative online contracting firms such as Elance, as well as through the digital media revolution led by giants such as Amazon and Apple, professionals such as myself are thriving.
And we are thriving because we love what we do and thrill to be part of the information loop. Professionals such as myself enjoy a little bit of everything as long as we get to learn something new in the process. During any given week I could be formatting a dissertation for publication, writing blog copy discussing the rise of social branding, or copy editing a new novel or memoir. We humans are dynamic animals, each with a variety of interests. How wonderful that media has advanced to the point where professionals such as myself can have a hand in it so directly, and in so many different ways.
In short, information has become a fluid commodity. Despite doomsday predictions, the rise in ebooks, smart phones, and tablet computers has actually led to an overall rise in reading. The pessimist may see this moment as a time of uncertainty, a time where professional roles are poorly defined. However, such pessimism does little to change two essential facts: publishing is still important, and the need for dynamic professionals able to anticipate and adapt to changes in media remains greater than ever.