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Senior Editor, Printing Impressions Magazine

Printers’ Pulse

By Erik Cagle

About Erik

Erik Cagle is senior editor for Printing Impressions magazine. He has reported on the graphics arts industry for 11 years.


Putting a Different Spin On 'I'll Be Home for Christmas'

Hi, I’m Erik Cagle, senior editor at Printing Impressions magazine. Some of you may recognize my name from bylines in the magazine, while I’ve had the good fortune to meet many of you at places like Graph Expo in Chicago. The powers-that-be at PI have graciously allowed me to pen a blog here on, which is an honor I truly appreciate.

The thought process behind this move is to take a topical news piece and stimulate a little conversation among the readers. The news won't always be solely about printers; it could be something regarding business conditions that may impact you, or general news of interest. I promise I won't spend much time on how the Cincinnati Reds, God's gift to baseball, need a right-handed power hitter or how they'll rue the day they traded Adam Dunn. After all, when you drive in 100 runs and score 100 every year...anyway, I’ll try my best to keep it topical.

First, some ground rules. I am a writer. I have written for PI the last 10 years. I am not an expert on printing. What knowledge I have was obtained by talking to you, the printer. The opinions I have forged are based on observing the industry and drawing my own conclusions. At times, you may think I'm full of crap. You may say as much, but please keep the tone of discourse within the boundaries of good taste. After all, if you really want to read me the riot act, you know my e-mail address ( I will afford you the same respect.

Now that we've dispatched the pleasantries, I invite you to drop by now and then, have a look and leave your $.02 U.S. Sometimes, it's the input of many that helps to shape your views. And maybe you might jot down something for people to think about. Perspective is a wonderful thing. The more we have, the better off we become.

Putting a Different Spin On ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’

Two companies of note bit the dust in the same week. Grafikom was part of the splitoff from Quebecor World a few years back, the non-core companies that were bought out by management groups. Word on the street is that they were fully leveraged, and now 500 face the holidays jobless. The distressing one is Leading Media Print Group. Although "only" 100 are jobless, it seems the company had enough work, but its bank couldn't provide it with any cash flow.

Terrific. With banks unable to provide sufficient credit, we've ushered in a new era of Chapter 7s that have little to do with how much capacity a printer can fill. And one Northwest newspaper had quotes from a newly-unemployed Leading Media worker talking about using his newly found free time to train in another field, because print jobs are "dwindling."

And what's the problem with the Eugene, OR, market? Koke Printing shut down effective this week, with 46 more now out of work. It used to specialize in auction brochures, but in 2008 that work dropped an alarming 40 percent. The company said it probably stayed open longer than it should have, for the sake of the employees.

Can't imagine how crappy it feels to put mass amounts of people out of work near Christmas. Sure, there's no ideal time to tell someone they need to re-examine their career...holidays just make it particularly egregious. Not that I fault Koke. But we need some good news soon.

Then Harland Clarke shuts down two facilities, 225 folks out of luck.

Maybe instead of good news, we can just get a reprieve from the bad stuff.

Man, the holidays can't get here fast enough.

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