The New Frontier
| American Journalism Review
| From AJR, April 1997|
The New Frontier
Neil Skene leaves Congressional Quarterly after 10 years
By Carolyn Melago
Neil Skene hasn't yet decided if it was his desire to explore new frontiers in journalism that attracted him to electronic publishing or something a little less romantic.
"Part of it was a long-anticipated midlife crisis," says Skene, who left Congressional Quarterly, where he was executive editor and publisher, in January. "I always knew I'd leave to do something very different, either a new career or just a new adventure."
Skene, 45, a 10-year veteran of CQ, has moved from inside the Beltway to outside of Boston as senior vice president and editor in chief of Individual, Inc., a customized electronic information provider with 462,000 readers worldwide. He admits he still has much to learn about the new technology, but Skene has learned that the challenges are similar to those he's faced throughout his 25-year career.
"I find myself returning to a lot of my newspaper roots in the past few days," Skene says of his new job. "We want to increase the intensity of readership, increase how user-friendly it is--all the things we talked about at the St. Petersburg Times [where he was a reporter and columnist for 10 years] and CQ."
And he plans to further fuse the traditions of print with the advantages of electronic publishing. "We want to create a strong editorial voice that helps our users understand this timely news, to make better sense of it," Skene says. "I think it's going to broaden the scope of the new media."
Skene thinks it's these ever-extending possibilities that are drawing traditional journalists from dead-wood publications to electronic ones. "It's interesting and fast-growing in terms of revenue and readers," Skene says. "It's kind of like being Laura Ingalls Wilder, like exploring a new frontier."
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