Media Vent

Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a printing/publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group (BoSacks.com). He is also the co-founder of the research company Media-Ideas (Media-Ideas.net), and publisher and editor of a daily international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web. Sacks has held posts as director of manufacturing and distribution, senior sales manager (paper), chief of operations, pressman, circulator and almost every other job this industry has to offer.

My friend Samir Husni has penned a short essay and complaint about "numbers" used in our industry for purposes of industry review and analysis (Click here). He bemoans the way some media reporters publish stats on the number of new titles in each quarter, and he wishes that they reached out to him for his extensive collected number of new launches. I suggest that his collection of data is very large, unique, and probably the most definitive.

There is absolutely nothing new in the latest newsstand reports that we didn't really already know, and the latest stats shouldn't be any kind of surprise to anyone. The print enthusiasts on the planet will continue to deny that there is anything wrong with the medium, and many new print titles will still be born despite the statistically obvious fact that print gets a smaller footprint each and every every quarter since 2008. There is no bottom to this trend and there is no correction possible anywhere in sight. Nevertheless. I suggest that there is some hope.

Professor Samir Husni and I both love the magazine industry, yet we come to that affection from completely different directions. He is enamored with print on paper, while I am enamored by the global power of content distribution in/and on any platform that the consumer/reader wishes. The differences of our perspectives are very significant, but don't preclude a decades-long, great friendship. Conversations between us are at the very least dynamic, as one young man found out when he was sitting between us at dinner on the first night of the IMAG Conference in Boulder. He got an earful from both sides.

It seems to me that my opinion on the changes to the ASME guidelines will be in the minority. To me it boils down to integrity: you have it or you don't. 

As an industry we seem to keep diluting our once unimpeachable integrity, whittling at it here and there, until before we know it, we have none.  Native advertising, ads on the cover, editors working hand in hand with advertisers -- where does it end? 

There is a story in today's paper that is a recap of a very local discussion about our paper of record here in Charlottesville, VA. The thing that struck me is a very small item that, until I read this article, was completely under my radar.  It tells a story that I was directly involved in for several years, but that I had completely forgotten about.

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