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Choices: Paper vs. Electronic --Cagle

February 2009
Bits and Pieces

IN THE spirit of not only keeping you informed of the latest news and information regarding your favorite industry, we have decided to introduce a new feature, Printers’ Pulse, penned by yours truly. But, for this particular feature to hold any sustained interest, we will need you, the reader, to do a majority of the writing.

The Web-only feature debuted in December on (I’ll resist the cheap giggle about still developing the sheetfed version). Ideally, the blog topics will be stimulating enough to persuade you to tap out a few choice words of your own on the given subject. And, maybe your thoughts will cause a few other people to respond with some of their own ideas.

Think of Printers’ Pulse as your local tavern for printers, a place where you can sit down, chew the fat and enjoy the perspectives of other men and women in our business. While we won’t be stoking fires for the sake of sensationalizing the news of the day, we can take a whack at whatever tickles our fancy. There are no sacred cows in our business.

You don’t need to mix words; and fear not, we won’t be grading you on punctuation and grammar. Just resist the temptation of tearing another person’s views to shreds...or at least don’t be malicious about it. You can certainly read me the riot act if you want, or you may find a more productive path in showing me the error of my ways. That is, if you can find fault with the things I say. I’ve often been referred to as Plato by my wife, in a testament to my oratory and debating skills. 

Then again, I suppose she might have been saying Play-Doh, which would explain the smirk.

Anyway, check in a few times a week at to see what we have brewing at Printers’ Pulse. You may just want in.

GOOD GUY AWARD: Some time back, I ripped the drivers behind the wheels of delivery trucks, citing their obnoxious driving style in the course of transporting consumables and other supplies to printers. Now, I must gobble down a little crow.

Lenny Roach, a nine-year veteran behind the wheel of a Unisource “big red” truck, has been honored by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) as its 2008 Highway Angel of the Year. The award is bestowed annually to truck drivers for demonstrating “unusual kindness, courtesy and courage they have shown others while on the job.” 

During the frigid early hours of February 19, 2008, Roach was making his rounds near South Bend, IN, when a car ahead of him skidded on black ice and rolled down an embankment, coming to rest upside down in a water-filled ditch. Victim Ernesto Soto crawled into his back seat in order to breathe as his car quickly became engulfed with the water, which was chest deep when Roach pried open the door.

Roach took Soto up the embankment in a minus-20 degree wind chill to his truck, where he called his office, and 911 was dispatched. Once the emergency response team arrived, Roach finished his route.

For his heroics, Roach received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch. He was also acknowledged during the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl college football game on December 30.

Nice work, Lenny.

PAPER CUTS: A CSR called the other day and asked if I would like to receive their major daily metro newspaper (to which I subscribe on a Sunday-only basis) for the next x-amount of weeks at no extra charge. It was a way, she said, of thanking their longtime, loyal customers. After quick, careful consideration, I said, no thank you.

The CSR was baffled. After all, who turns down something free? But, I told her that I wasn’t much of a paper reader during the week, that I wouldn’t have time to read it and didn’t want piles of newspaper to recycle (my town lacks trash/recyclables pickup, so I have to schlep it to the recycling center). What I didn’t say, though I was thinking, was that I read yesterday’s news yesterday—on the Internet.

Sadly, most newspapers give away content on their Website. Don’t fall over from shock, gentle readers. But why are they surprised when they find it difficult to even give away the printed version? They probably aren’t, truthfully.

The writing is on the wall for newspapers that don’t find creative ways to leverage electronic publishing. It’s too late to tell them to stop giving away product. National publications and large regional ones will continue to flounder; the two largest Detroit dailies have cut back home delivery to a mere three days per week. Smaller newspapers will continue to excel, to a degree, since they’re still the prime source for local news.

Still, I feel somewhat ashamed for turning my back on the industry that used to provide my livelihood. But the news business is hardscrabble, and has always taken its share of hits and bounced back.

Maybe, I’ll call them back. 

CONGRATS TO PAT: Well, I’m only about six months late on the congratulations, but I wanted to tip my hat to Patrick Henry for winning the 2008 Tom McMillan Award for Editorial Excellence. Pat truly embodies the term “gentleman and a scholar,” and is one of the most gracious and humble people I’ve met in the business. His body of work as an industry writer and educator is unparalleled.

Well done, kind sir.  PI

—Erik Cagle



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