After a years of rumors regarding it’s demise, last week it was made official that JEMS will cease printing magazines but will continue offering online and electronic media. As pointed out by JEMS Editor-In-Chief A.J. Heightman, “…we’ve decided to advance with the times…”.
This change is not shocking. We have seen many traditional media companies roll back print editions and just as many, if not more, cease publishing online due to their content not garnering enough views to generate advertising revenue. Publishing, like many EMS systems that lack adequate tax based funding, is ultimately a business that needs to at least break even fiscally.
If anything should surprise, it’s that they didn’t do this about a decade ago. Perhaps it was the influence of the EMS industry’s “tradition before progress” mentality that hindered it until the bottom line could support it no more. Maybe in the face of rising printing and delivery cost with a decrease in paid subscribers, the same type of movement seen amongst EMS agency patient populations, they were pushed to this eventuality the same way EMS Systems will be pushed towards smarter telephonic triage and assigning resources that can include vehicles other than ambulances (i.e. Community Paramedic, Livery Service) to deal with a call.
The one true benefit that this change will foster is that the content on JEMS will be more timely to the current events and that may help raise its profile amongst the younger providers who have never subscribed to a magazine in their life.
Over the course of my career JEMS has always been there providing new insights, encouraging out of the box thinking, and exploring EMS systems that I otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn about. Although they have skewered their orientation more towards fire-based EMS and I have been critical of them in the past (and probably will still be if they continue their ways), I still truly wish them the best of luck with this transition.