I’d done it a thousand times—piloting the little Cessna 150 Aerobat through the Florida skies had become almost second nature. But on that bright spring day in 1985 my heart was in my throat as my flight instructor stepped out of the cockpit and closed the door, giving me a grin and a big thumbs up. I double checked all the instruments, pushed the throttle forward and taxied to the runway. My little bird leaped into the sky. One trip around the landing pattern and it was done—my first solo flight, and a major milestone in my life.
The feeling was similar while working on the December issue of Quick Printing, which just went to the printer. Technically, Bob was still in the office, but this was destined to be the first issue of the magazine since December 1988 that would not carry his name in the lead editorial spot. My name is there instead. It’s another milestone—another solo flight—but the feeling isn’t the same. Rushing to meet compressed deadlines, I’m afraid my first editorial may seem a bit dry and pedantic. I’ll try to do better in the future.
There is so much to process, professionally and personally. Folding Printing News into QP is a good thing. It really is. There will be so much more information for our readers. And we’ll have new readers as we reach out to the medium to large commercial printers. But for those of us who’ve been around a while, it’s kind of like seeing a big city spring up around our little home town. And the mayor is missing. You know that he’s still around somewhere, but things just feel a bit askew.
Then there’s the separate issue of understanding that a publication that has been around since 1928 won’t be published any more. Printing News is a well-respected title that outlived its business model. Our attempt to change it from a regional weekly to a national monthly was just too little, too late. So now it’s relegated to departmental status in QP.
Columnists and contributors to both magazines suddenly find that their articles are being rotated between print and online status in a crazy game of musical chairs that will take a while to shake out. They are also dealing with the fact that putting more content into the same number of pages means the length of their columns has been seriously curtailed. Moving forward, most columns will be one-pagers.
As I said, the change really is going to be a good thing in the long run. This move will allow us to continue addressing all segments of the graphic communications industry. It keeps the Printing News brand alive. It provides the readers with a broader scope of information. It addresses the consolidation and the blurring of lines that have been going on in this industry for years. Hopefully, it will open a new pool of advertisers for QP, which will help our brand to grow and improve so that we can serve our audience better than ever before. After all, we are advertiser supported, so the more ads are sold, the more editorial pages we are granted—and everyone loves a nice fat magazine!
This is going to make 2012 busy and exciting and dynamic. But please, just for a moment, indulge me. If you’ve been reading QP for a long time, you might even join me as I take a deep breath and look back at the Quick Printing community as it has been for so many years. Reflect on the past for a heartbeat or two before turning to face our shining new horizon.