2011 Hall of Fame: Ken Kaufman – From Publisher to Printer

Ken Kaufman enjoys a relaxing moment with his wife of 46 years, Jean.

In addition to having three sons, Ken Kaufman boasts a bevy of grandkids.

Ken Kaufman’s three sons.

Journalism Journey

Kaufman was born and raised in and around the Washington, DC, area, experiencing what he termed a “very normal” childhood. He graduated with a business degree from Miami (OH) University, then enrolled at Northwestern, where he earned a masters degree in journalism.

Since Washington, DC, was and still is the political capital of the universe, Kaufman served a six-month stretch in the U.S. Army before embarking on a career as a writer.

He debuted with Iron Age magazine, then hit the DC financial scene, covering subjects including banking regulations, savings and loans, and credit unions. Kaufman then joined a friend, the late Peter Nagan, in reporting and writing a bi-weekly title that followed the Federal Reserve and monetary policy. Since news came out of the Fed at a much more deliberate pace, Kaufman and Nagan were able to provide valuable information for banks and New York investment houses.

Since Kaufman and Nagan were dealing with the Federal Reserve and could not directly quote anyone unless they spoke on Capitol Hill, crafting the language in the newsletter was an exacting process. The duo would pore over copy right against (and past) bed time, which didn’t prove popular with their chosen printer. The solution? Get into the printing business themselves.

“We hired a pressman to produce our newsletter every other week. But, we didn’t know what to have him do the other days of the week,” Kaufman recalls. “So, we started producing business cards, envelopes and letterhead. Plus, we had a lot of friends who did newsletters, so that helped fill our little Multilith with other work.”

Despite having no grounding in the printing world, NSI quickly built up a book of business within the newsletter community. The company soon had as many as 350 titles of varying frequencies that it was producing and mailing. Since the company operated out of the same facility as other newsletter publishers, NSI “owned” the building within a short period. It’s biggest coup was a six-newsletter pact with McGraw-Hill and, within 10 years, the firm had surpassed the $10 million mark in revenues. The little Multilith gave way to bigger and faster presses.

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