PrintMediaCentr's Deborah Corn Gets Up Close and Personal With Mark Michelson in 1:1 Interview
I have been doing 1/1 interviews for several years and it never ceases to amaze me how incredible peeks behind the curtain of industry persona’s can be. I know Mark Michelson as the Editor-in-Chief of Printing Impressions, and while I do work with Mark as a blogger on PI World, and I have had conversations with him at trade shows and many e-mail exchanges over the years, I learned more about him and Printing Impressions in this interview than all the other time put together!
What is still perfectly evident however, is that Mark is a dedicated man, personally and professionally. I contacted him to talk about a very topical Webinar he is moderating about Print Buying on Sept. 18 (seriously, check it out—the panelists rock! Info below!), and that turned into this. You can meet Mark at GRAPH EXPO in booth 362, but for now, here he is!
DC: Who is Mark Michelson and what does he do?
MM: Used to be a basketball junkie on the weekends until about 10 years ago, when I got tired of coming into work on Monday mornings with some kind of injury. Over the years, injuries from playing basketball included...broken leg, right hand, nose, shattered middle finger (including four pins), and more sprained ankles and fingers than I can count. These days, happy to ride my bike and go for long walks.
I’m raising two grandkids, Marcus (eight years old) and Makayla (six years old) as a single grandfather. Having raised two grown sons, not sure if that second time around at parenthood qualifies me for a free pass through the pearly gates or fast-track admission into an insane asylum!
So much of my time now outside of the office is consumed with Little League games, setting up play dates, helping do elementary school homework—and constantly reminding my grandson to lift the toilet seat before peeing and my granddaughter to stop whining when she doesn’t get her way. With that said, there are times when I feel so blessed that I have the opportunity to mold two young children into, hopefully, successful adults with strong values.
DC: What sets Printing Impressions apart from the other industry offerings—besides the blog I write for PI World of course!
MM: When Printing Impressions was founded in 1958 there were more than a dozen existing publications serving the graphic arts industry. I never would have believed it if someone were to tell me that our two primary competitors, American Printer and Graphic Arts Monthly magazines, would be shut down by their publishers, with both publications having a rich history of more than 100 years in existence. But that’s what happened. It is a reflection of the turmoil that the printing industry has gone through. But the fact that Printing Impressions has survived is hopefully a testament to the strong relationship we have built and maintained with our printing executive readership and our advertising base. Plus, as a publishing/media company that was founded by a printer himself, Irvin Borowsky, we have a strong commitment to the graphic arts industry, unlike the large, conglomerate publishers that owned American Printer and Graphic Arts Monthly at the time.
DC: If your LinkedIn profile is correct, you have been with Printing Impressions for 32 years and nine months! What are the biggest industry changes you have seen during your decades of devotion to print and the printed word?
MM: The biggest change has been on the technology front. Producing a magazine, I not only have reported on it, but have lived it. We were producing mechanical boards of all the pages for many years when I first started. Would come home at night and find galleys that had been run through the waxer stuck to bottom of my shoes. Think back of how our art directors would have to use t-squares to cut between each line with a x-acto knife if we wanted to change the leading. In fact, when I first started in 1982 we wrote our editorial content and sent it to an outside typesetter, which still used hot type and sent us galleys to proofread. They finally went out of business because they couldn’t find replacement parts for their Linotype machines and people to operate the machinery.
I also lived though the advent of desktop publishing and recall vividly to this day the first time our then-outside typesetter showed us a sample of editorial copy that wrapped around a photograph. It would have taken one of our graphic designers hours to do that manually.
DC: On Sept. 18th you are moderating a Webinar titled “Truth from the Trenches: Print Buyers in the Digital (Printing) Age,” that I also agree is a cannot miss for printers not just for topic, but also for the panel you have assembled. What are some of the takeaways/action items you hope to provide for attendees during this discussion?
MM: This free Webinar will provide keen insight about printer-print buyer relationships featuring a panel of long-time print buyers from State Farm Insurance, Starbucks Coffee and Synergent. They’ll reveal their criteria for creating successful partnerships with print/marketing services providers, ways that digital printing advancements have altered their buying habits and how they’re embracing interactive printing technologies. Also making this Webinar especially interesting is the fact that two of the panelists have worked for various printing companies, so they’ve sat on both sides of the proverbial buyer-seller fence. (register here!)
DC: GRAPH EXPO is just around the corner and Printing Impressions Group is a partner in my 2014 Intergalactic Alliance of The Printerverse! What’s going on in your booth, and can you tell us a bit about the Gold Ink Awards—including how people can get involved for next year!
MM: We will be setting up a video studio in our booth to conduct video interviews, just as we did at PRINT 13 last year. Attendees can also stop by to say hello to me, Bob Neubauer, and Noel Ward—the editor-in-chiefs of In-plant Graphics, and packagePRINTING, and sign up for free magazine subscriptions.
The Hall of Fame & Gold Ink Awards gala will be held Monday night during GRAPH EXPO. We will induct four new members into the Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame—our 30th annual induction class. They include: Jon Budington, CEO, Global Printing; David DeLana, President, Heritage—The Integrated Resource; Martin Liebert, Founder, President & CEO, Freedom Graphic Systems; and Christopher Pierce, Chairman, The Dingley Press. The Gala also honors the top winners of the Gold Ink Awards printing contest. We received more than 1,000 entries and held a judging contest in June to pick winners within 49 different categories. All of the 2014 winners and information on how to participate can be found at www.goldink.com.
DC: If you were to give the commencement speech at your alma mater, Northern Illinois University, what would your message be regarding the evolution of publishing within the next five years?
MM: My advice would be to broaden your horizons and become proficient in as many skill sets as possible. When I received a degree in journalism, I was on a printed word track. Today, it’s still about printed communications, but also shooting video, video editing, creating Website content, launching e-newsletters, blogging, etc. With that said, I still think there is a place for people with journalism/English backgrounds in publishing. They say that with the Web, everyone is a writer/publisher. But, I think there will still be a demand for quality over quantity when it comes to content written/edited/posted on the Web.
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist, international speaker and blogger, host of Podcasts From The Printerverse, cultivator of Print Production Professionals the No. 1 print group on LinkedIn, Girl No. 1 at Girls Who Print, host of #PrintChat every Wednesday at 4PM ET on Twitter, the founder of International Print Day and the founder of #ProjectPeacock. She is the recipient of several industry honors and sits on the board of the The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, and is an advisor for the Advertising Production Club of NYC.
Deborah has 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer and now works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them create meaningful relationships with customers and members, and achieve success with their social media, content marketing, event marketing and sales endeavors.