The Associate Director and Editor in Chief at Rutgers University Press Leslie Mitchner gave a lecture yesterday on the effects of modern technology on print publishing at the Social Sciences and Media Studies Building.
During the lecture, hosted by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, Mitchner discussed the concerns administrators and students have in regards to changes in digital access to print publications. Mitchner’s discussion primarily touched on the relationship between digital and traditional print publishing.
According to Mitchner, the progression of modern technology is not a threat to the publishing industry, but rather poses “an opportunity and a challenge.”
“We just have to figure out how to use those resources better,” Mitchner said. “Revenue is declining, but the industry will persevere one way or another. I think that the future will continue for university presses and commercial presses.”
Film and media studies caps associate professor and coordinator of the event Jennifer Holt said she hopes faculty and graduate students in attendance gained a wider perspective on the effects of digital publishing from Mitchner’s lecture.
“I think it was an opportunity for these students to get a better perspective on what it means to be an author or to be in the literary business, from any perspective,” Holt said, “as a publisher, as an editor, as an author or even as a reader in this kind of time.”
Assistant professor of sociology Zakiya Luna said that Mitchner’s advice gave her a better understanding of the digitization of the publishing industry.
“I think it’s really important to think about these new forms of digital media and how to engage them,” Luna said. “It’s important to make sure that the different work we are publishing in different fields can potentially have a broader impact, keeping in mind the realities of what’s changed about academic publishing as we are writing our own work.”
According to Luna, the lecture helped explain how the industry’s transition from print to online will affect current and future writers.
“As publishing changes by the minute, it’s also really important that we as authors and scholars have the latest information,” Luna said. “It’s really exciting that the campus has supported an event like this and hopefully this will continue conversations about what is happening with publishing and how we can make sure that our work is speaking to those changing needs.”
History department chair and professor Elizabeth Digeser hopes that the discussion with Mitchner will provide insight for current and interested publishers on how to adapt to the changes of the evolving publishing industry.
“I have published in traditional formats — book and articles — but I know that there have been important changes in how research is communicated,” Digeser said. “I’d like to know more about what the current trends are so that I can take advantage of the new opportunities and can advise my graduate students as I do.”
Fourth year graduate student in the Dept. of Film and Media Studies Rachel Fabian said she thought the discussion was very informative for graduate students looking to publish, such as herself.
“As grad students on such a large campus, it’s often times difficult to get events catered for humanities scholars who are looking to publish,” Fabian said, “so it was very nice to have someone from Rutgers University Press who deals specifically with humanities subfields to talk to us about those very unique things that sometimes we don’t get a chance to talk about that much.”