'Scouting' for Production Solutions
On the eve of his induction into the Publishing Executive Hall of Fame, Bob Wiemers reflects on his career with Boy Scouts of America's magazine titles and what lies ahead in the area of production-related issues.
Better, faster, cheaper -- that's the three-word legacy Bob Wiemers hopes he has created for himself since joining Boy Scouts of America's magazine division to work on Boys' Life, the group's general-interest monthly and Scouting, its bimonthly scout-focused title.
After spending nearly two decades taking the publications' production in new and innovative directions, Wiemers, operations director of the magazine division, will be honored for his work. He will be welcomed into the Publishing Executive Hall of Fame later this month at Graph Expo 2008 in Chicago.
Wiemers spoke this week to Publishing Executive Inbox about this legacy, the current challenges he faces and the opportunities he sees for the future of magazine publishing.
Publishing Executive Inbox: What are the biggest changes you've seen since you first got involved in the industry?
Bob Wiemers: Everything is easier. The computer made things fast. It changed the whole way you did the job. It changed production. The thing I'm sorry about is we lost the art of production. The work used to allow the production artist to contribute to the page. We're flight-checking and creating PDFs, and it's more of a cog-in-the-machine-thing now. It certainly takes a talent level, but it's more [about] pushing buttons. It used to be more of a craft.
I don't think the Post Office feels for the publisher. We're getting hurt from every side. All our costs are going so much higher. We have to find another solution. Hopefully that [solution] is not going to the Web or converting files to downloadable PDF files. I like the idea of holding a piece of paper. ... Everything has shifted to the numbers. It's all about cost control. Computers save money, and now, it's always about saving money. ...