Kelly Doe on The Future of Publishing

By Fernanda Cohen   Thursday June 17, 2010

ICON, the biannual conference that brings media people and artists together to discuss signal issues and trends in publishing, launches in just a month, in sunny LA. One of the keynote speakers who will be talking about the future of publishing, on a panel moderated by the legendary Roger Black, is Kelly Doe, Art Director at the New York Times. I caught up with Kelly this week for an email interview.

Fernanda Cohen: What's happening with the NYT online vs. print - and how is illustration being commissioned and used for both media?

Kelly Doe: At this point the paper is fully integrated -everything is uploaded for the web first and then collected and shaped for the print edition. Each section of the Times is staffed for both print and web, and the multi-media, video and graphics departments communicate with all editorial and art departments.

FC: How is illustration being commissioned for both media?

KD: Illustrations are commissioned by the art director for each section, but the web art directors commission art for the blogs and some online-only features. Online-only illustrations (in blogs, features, video, and more) have limitless potential that we are just starting to explore.

FC: Do you think publications are using less illustration because of the online market? If so, why?

KD: Publications are using less illustration because they have fewer ads, therefore smaller budgets. There is a trend towards using stock photography because it's ultra-cheap.

FC: Do you think the value of illustration, fee wise, has lowered because of online usage - or the lack of it? Do you think the quality of illustration has lowered because of these same reasons?

KD: Fees have lowered for several reasons. There are now typically two uses (web and print) for the price of one. Some publications now demand ownership of the art instead of one-time use (so no future sales for the illustrator), and lower budgets can mean less pay per illustration. Fortunately, the quality of the work has not lowered. Amazing things are happening, and in a much more diverse range of media.

FC: What do you envision will happen with the NYT in print in the next 10 years?

KD: The print edition will initially grow and expand into markets in cities where local papers are floundering, but over time it might become a more exclusive paper product - relatively more expensive, perhaps condensed, perhaps with reshaped content. The Times of the future might even include a digest or guide to what may be found online.

FC: Are budgets for print publications shrinking because of the popularity of online newspapers?

KD: Budgets for print publications are shrinking because advertising is shrinking -advertisers have a much wider range of online and print options now.

FC: What do you think would be an ideal midpoint for newspapers like the Times - in order to to keep the quality of content (both text and illustrations) while adapting to advancing technology?

KD: Global news organizations like the NYTimes are eventually going to find workable, ever-evolving business models; screen technology will become more refined; devices will be more capable of delivering all kinds of imagery at higher speeds. So for the future? I believe all kinds of storytelling - journalistic and otherwise - will flourish, and it will be a richer and more fulfilling visual experience than we can now imagine.

New York-based artist and illustrator Fernanda Cohen is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, Vice President of ICON6, and lecture coordinator at the Society of Illustrators of New York. She recently designed a line of T-shirts for The Gap's Product (RED) campaign, and is one of 10 New York faces for Carolina Herrera's latest perfume 212 VIP's campaign. She is also a regular contributor to DART.


Editor's note: DART is a media sponsor of ICON6 The Illustration Conference, which takes place this year in Los Angeles, starting July 14th at the Langhorn Hotel. For information about events, speakers, and registration, please visit the website. - PR.