Neil De Young

Neil De Young

M.S. in Publishing: Digital and Print Media
Alumnus, Class of 1999

With the emergence of technology like Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Apple’s iPad, it is clear that the world of publishing has undergone a dramatic shift. NYU School of Professional Studies graduate Neil De Young has been at the leading edge of these new media trends for over a decade, in positions at Disney’s Hyperion Books, Scholastic Inc., and most recently, at Hachette Book Group, USA. Now, as executive director of Hachette Digital, he oversees the company’s entire digital operation, developing content, dealing with distributors, and coordinating strategy.

De Young notes that earning the M.S. in Publishing: Digital and Print Media greatly enhanced his career. "The program offers an objective overview. You’re learning current practice from leading practitioners with up-to-the-minute experience, in an industry that’s changing overnight." This, he found, when combined with the program’s practical assignments, accelerated his career trajectory and cut his on-the-job learning curve in half.

Although publishing has changed enormously, De Young still consults his thesis, which was written more than a decade ago, and which focused on the integration of technology in publishing. It serves as a reminder of the core principles he still follows today. He credits his paper’s focus on the need for uniform standards in an emerging area of the sector with strengthening his resolve to make Hachette the first publisher to use a single digital format for all of its products—an initially controversial approach that has since been adopted throughout the industry.

When asked how today’s students should prepare themselves to enter an industry that is transforming itself, De Young insists that while they need to embrace technology, never forget that "publishers don’t publish books, they publish ideas." It’s the publisher’s job to distribute those ideas as widely as possible, in whatever form of media necessary.