"If ever there was a time when a group of people who care about publishing need to get together, it is now." So began Tina Weiner, welcoming the first Yale Publishing Course to New Haven Connecticut.
The energy was palpable as the 80 plus course participants introduced themselves. Participants from Time Inc, Meredith, Conde Nast and Hearst greeted independent publishers and entrepreneurs; editors and publishers mingled with controllers and business managers. People came from all over the United States and throughout the world, with from six continents telling their stories of how and why they came together. "I had to sell my cows to come," a publisher from Uganda told the enrapt group. "I told my husband, these are your cows, and these are the children's, but these are mine, and I need to sell them to go."
"At one time our biggest challenge was to find our audience," Weiner remarked. "Now the audience will find you. And a whole new set of challenges appear--challenges that we will address over the coming week."
That promise launched what is shaping up to be an intense week of sharing and learning--a week, according to program advisor Dorothy Kalins, that will be informal, inclusive, honest, and participative. "We will meet the uncertainty of our time with buoyant optimism," Kalins declared. "We will face the future, and we will not lose our nerve."
It is the ideas that count, Kalins continued--not the medium, but the message. If we gather with our readers around a shared set of values, we must succeed.
The course itself is proof of that--a continuation and re-definition of the Stanford Publishing Course, the Yale Course seeks not so much to make history--although it can be argued that, as first ever Yale Publishing Course, it is doing just that--as to create the future. At this time in the life of publishing, when the past and the future intersect, we're finding a moment of pure potential--a moment when each of us can create what we dream on the printed page, online, and across media, where content rules and everything is possible.