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Nowadays, journal editors need to work harder. Not only journal editorial relating jobs, but also adapting to digital world that people read less, view and listen more. Recently, Deputy Editor Edward H. Livingston, MD, and Editor in Chief Howard Bauchner of the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) have resigned from the position. The cause is the uproar of people over the podcast called “Structural Racism for Doctors: What Is It?” 1, 2 I will not go into the detail of racism issues that have been comprehensively covered elsewhere. This editorial note will discuss editorial jobs like creating a podcast.
“Why journal editors who are supposed to be good at editorial jobs need to create a podcast?”
I think this is the question that should be asked, not just the issue of racism. It has long been realized that medical journals need to be evolved.3 At the 16th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP)4 in 2020, there are recommendations for publishing professionals from the meeting as follows:
- understand audiences’ unique content and channel preferences
- develop new systems to enable efficient tailoring of content across these audiences
- increased retention and understanding of information with visual communication
- expanding array of multichannel opportunities with emerging digital platforms to reach our audiences
As we can see from the list of recommendations, a journal editor’s conventional skillset is unlikely to be enough for the future anymore. Traditional journal editors without appropriate skillsets who try to adapt to the digital world may fail, as the example of Dr. Livingston and Dr. Bauchner.
2. McFarling UL. Troubling podcast puts JAMA, the ‘voice of medicine,’ under fire for its mishandling of race. STAT. April 6, 2021. Accessed April 8, 2021. https://www.statnews.com/2021/04/06/podcast-puts-jama-under-fire-for-mishandling-of-race/
3. Podolsky SH, Greene JA, Jones DS. The evolving roles of the medical journal. N Engl J Med. 2012;366(16):1457-1461. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1113567
4. Matheis RJ, Parker T. The evolving role and responsibility of medical publication professionals. Curr Med Res Opin. 2020;36(sup1):3-4. doi:10.1080/03007995.2020.1738984