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EDITOR'S notebook

June 2003
45 Years and Counting!

This issue marks the 45th anniversary of this—I guess I can now say venerable—industry publication. Despite the fact that there was already an overcrowded field of some 17 other magazines, Irvin Borowsky launched Printing Impressions in June of 1958 as a tabloid newspaper (see inset), coincidentally the same month that I would celebrate my first birthday. The former printing company owner, publisher of a regional television listings guide (Borowsky sold his product to TV Guide founder Walter Annenberg in '53) and graphic arts equipment dealer felt that none of them effectively focused on managing a successful printing operation. While some of the companies we wrote about and advertisers that supported the publication over the years have not survived, Printing Impressions has flourised by staying true to its original mission.

Despite the importance of technology, printing remains a people business. As such, faithful readers know that pictures of leading industry executives, as illustrated by this month's feature on Lake County Press, grace most of our covers—and have done so even well before I was named editor in 1985, after three years of serving as an editor on other North American Publishing Co. printing-related titles. We're also known, I believe, for our extensive news coverage and ability to write about sometimes technical content in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. And, I hope you'll agree, that we serve as a conduit of information, striving to objectively report what paths various printers are taking. After all, we all know that there are many roads to success, so what may be effective for one operation may not make sense for another.

Having been associated with the publication for that long of time, which is rare in trade publishing circles and in American business in general, my job has become more to me than just a paycheck. In fact, sometimes people will ask how I avoid suffering from burnout covering the same industry for 21 years. My response: It's always changing, plus every issue that our editorial staff prepares is different from the previous, allowing for creativity. Anyone with a passion for what they do for a career can relate.

From a change perspective, I've been around to witness the shift from proprietary CEPS systems to desktop publishing, and the subsequent demise of professional typographers; the iterations of page assembly using film, and the eventual adoption of filmless, computer-to-plate workflows; the industry dotcom bubble, and subsequent burst; the slow, but finally gaining steam, growth of digital printing and one-to-one marketing; as well as today's newest developments in JDF and its role in the adoption of computer-integrated manufacturing processes.

I've also enjoyed mentoring editorial associates over the years, watching them become chief editors of sister magazines within our company or moving on to other outside opportunities. Perhaps one's gift to the human race can best be measured, not based on personal accomplishments, but by the positive impact made on others.

But, most rewarding, has been the chance to get to know so many industry individuals; it's the people who truly make the graphic arts so special. As the old saying goes, "Once you get ink in your veins, you never leave this industry." I guess, like so many others associated with printing, the blood that flows in my body isn't red—it's magenta.

Mark T. Michelson
 

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