One of the most frequent questions I am asked is: will the printed word survive the digital age.
To me, the more important question is, wil good journalism and good writing in general survive the blogging age of self-styled pundits and self-published authors.
Some of the most venerable publications in the world have seen dwindling revenues as traditional advertising dries up. Advertisers do not, of course, feel they have a responsibility to sponsor good writing – all they are interested in is sales and brand awareness among ‘their target demographic’, the larger the better.
And so it is that traditional publishers of great pedigree have walked the proverbial plank and been rescued by unlikely knights in shining armour, such as digital age book retail giant Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and commodities broker and legendary investor John Henry. The former acquired The Washington Post at the time of writing this editor’s letter (by the time B Beyond goes to print, this will be old news or even no news in our brave new digital world); the latter bought The Boston Globe a few days earlier.
One hopes the two men have recognised the more intangible value of these two iconic publications and determined to bankroll them in a grand philanthropic gesture and in a bid to preserve quality writing, critical analysis, and independent thinking.
Certainly, Bezos’ mission statement and Henry’s comments suggest that both men subscribe to and intend to uphold the noble values of great investigative reporting.
At a time when too many publishers chase after shrinking profits and produce little more than catalogues of glossy ads with a few insipid editorial features thrown in, we have to hope that Bezos, Henry and those who come after them will save journalism and news reporting in spite of our best efforts to obliterate intelligent thinking.
B Beyond does not, of course, report news – it is a periodical that has just a handful of editions per year – and so we tend to focus on individuals who have made (and continue to make) a contribution to culture or to humanity, or both.
We also feature travel and art photography, and all things that we believe our readers would find interesting and inspiring. We eschew mass advertising because we can.
In this bumper edition we interview magician and philanthropist Drummond Money-Coutts, New York lawyer John Altorelli and art collector Satish Modi. We feature Dakis Joannou’s annual art event.
We write about The Season – skiing in St Moritz, polo in Argentina and racing in Goodwood.
Our regular features on wine, global tax news, anti-ageing and photography will hopefully provide you with an entertaining read that is timeless rather than seasonal.
With Christmas just round the corner, we hope that all our readers will spare a thought for that seldom mentioned endangered species, the creative talent, and make a small contribution to LCF, the Linveco Cultural Foundation which exists to support it.
LCF has awarded its annual grant to the writing of a book on Ireland for Co-Operation Ireland, a charity that promotes understanding, peace building and ‘positive relationships at community level’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The book will be published at the very end of 2013 and proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Co-operation Ireland.
We wish all our readers a great ending of 2013 and an even greater start to 2014.