Ever since Editia launched five years ago, I’ve been hoping a high net worth, tech savvy entrepreneur who gets journalism and digital publishing would come along and want to invest in a company that was built around the two.
In recent weeks, two such individuals have come into my life, one after the other. They’re energetic, they’re smart, they’re successful and they don’t just care about the place where journalism meet digital publishing, they totally get it, too. I have to keep pinching myself to make sure they’re real.
Unfortunately for Editia, the journalism and digital publishing business they’ve decided to take over is not this one, but the RiotACT, the Canberra news and opinion website of which I am editor in my day job. You may not have heard of it if you’re from outside Canberra, but it has a serious presence in the capital, with around 140,000 unique visitors per month to the website, and more than 16,000 people signed up to its Facebook page.
I took a three month part-time contract with the RiotACT in late September 2015 to earn some regular income. It was immediately clear that this presented a problem for Editia, because it left little time or mental energy for publishing longform works.
Getting back into shortform online journalism felt like coming home. In a few months, it will be 20 years since I first joined smh.com.au as a web producer. The move to digital news was just beginning then. Now it’s almost complete. It’s as exciting to be part of it now as it was then.
But my new employers have talked me into going full-time, and with a young family to look after when I’m not working, my commitment to Editia has had to be scaled back. Over the next few months, we will publish four books that are almost ready for market. After that, we will publish no more than one title a year.
One book we will no longer be publishing by mutual agreement given the time constraints is Canberra author David Dufty’s The Kana Code. ArtsACT had provided funding to Editia for this title, and we had in turn already paid a portion of it to the Canberra author. Editia has returned the remainder of the grant monies to ArtsACT in full. We wish David every success with the title and will be cheering it on from the sidelines in the months ahead.
Given our remaining contracted titles will now take us through till 2018, submissions are currently closed.
We’ve given notice on our beloved office at the fabulous Gorman Arts Centre in Canberra and moved out last month. There is no point having an office if you can’t even find the time to commute to it, but we are already missing the iconic art deco buildings, the leafy courtyards, and, most of all, the passionate artists and administrators we have shared them with these past few years.