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Protecting Those Who Promote You —Cagle

January 2008

A BIG shout goes out to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for splashing a nice, big feature on Wisconsin printers on the front page of its Sunday business section on December 2.

In a story titled “Just call us Print U.S.A.,” writer Joel Dresang interviewed me and a number of printers who were included in the PI article that ran in our October issue, and gave nice play to the state’s unofficial/official dubbing by our magazine as the printing capital of the United States. Deba Horn-Prochno of Ripon Printers gave me a heads up on the nice center package by the paper.

I’d talked to Dresang previously for other print-related articles. His newspaper is a good friend to the printing industry in Wisconsin; it easily leads the country with the best coverage of printing-related articles. Our printing news feeds regularly include story posts from the JS, and it’s often thoughtful, well-researched edit copy.

Not to hum a worn-out tune, but I’ve always been a proponent of printers supporting not only national trade magazines, but your local newspapers as well. When you e-mail the trade mags with your announcements, make sure you “cc” the local paper. The newspaper is still a viable source for local news that can’t be found elsewhere. They really want to print what’s going on with local businesses, and they’re in a tight spot revenue-wise because of competing technologies.

Having been one myself, I have a soft spot for newspaper reporters and their publications. And for 50 cents or less per day, that’s a darn good bargain for the depth of product. Protecting and preserving printed communications is in all of our best interests.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS: This time of the year is extremely slow news-wise, so we’ll take time out to issue a few New Year’s Resolutions for 2008. Don’t forget to set your own personal goals. Just in case you do, feel free to borrow some of mine. Here’s a random sampling of “I Resolve...”:

• In 2008, I resolve to become a better on-site reporter. Graph Expo, for example, can be a tough gig, and 8 a.m. symposiums on the future of paper can cause the old eyelids to flutter heavily. Sometimes I’ll walk out of such a meeting with just the following scribbled down, “Paper: Good or Bad?” What does that mean? Gotta bear down in the future.

• In 2008, I resolve to become less tolerant. Sorry, I know it sounds impertinent, but sometimes we are assigned to press conferences that have little or no point for existing. The whole point of a “news conference” is to pass along news, no matter how trite/insignificant. Starting this year, when it becomes apparent that a press conference is lacking in substance, I will stand up in the middle of Company A’s mission statement recitation and begin singing Neil Diamond songs with great gusto. Maybe I can get industry consultants Bill Lamparter and Dennis Mason to provide background vocals.

“Turn on your heartlight...let it shine wherever you go.”

Look, I know you guys want to make an appearance at the major shows, but if you don’t have anything new in the pipeline, that’s fine. Take a page from 4Over’s book. Last year, 4Over featured gaming tables at its Graph Expo booth. It didn’t have squat to do with printing, but the trade printer made some friends and got its name out there for potential customers. That will be remembered far longer than a hollow press conference.

• In 2008, I resolve to deliver the best and most outrageous news stories to you via PI Weekly, which returns to Friday deliveries this year. Hirings, firings, plant closures, M&As and layoffs are par for the course, but I also have a soft spot for counterfeiters and people who run afoul of the law. If a story touches your world, you’ll be sure to find it in PI Weekly and in the printed magazine’s news section.

• In 2008, I resolve to give Mark Bonacorso more ink. He knows where to find the best duck in town.

• In 2008, I resolve to sell a lot of copies of my first novel, “Gross Misconduct.” It’s a coming-of-age tale set in Canada and it revolves around the melodramatic world of Aury Treadway, who is destined for glory as a professional hockey player. Aury lives, loves and loses. Plus, it helps that he’s something of an idiot, and idiots always make the worst choices. Everyone loves to read about people in worse shape than they are, right?

As a subthought, I vow to take advantage of as many marketing opportunities as I can.

• In 2008, I resolve not to have my car stolen. Last summer I lost my beloved Intrepid to the mean streets of Philadelphia. It went missing on my last day at work before a week of vacation in Ocean City, MD.

Then, while at the beach, we received a message that a girl from my daughter’s kindergarten class had been killed in an auto accident. And I had to explain death—a concept I still don’t fully understand—to a five-year-old girl. It was a tough summer, to say the least.

Scratch out the car item. I resolve to remember what is most important in life.

I wish you one and all the healthiest, happiest and most prosperous new year. Here’s hoping that the good times outweigh the bad.

—Erik Cagle

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