Thursday, September 06, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Jobs, Mags, and and the Future

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Jobs, Mags, and and the Future

Re: Update
Bob, Once again I find myself unemployed. I got laid off yesterday from XXX XXX Media. The impact of high paper and postage costs and reduced ad revenue is real and hitting home in a big way.

I was totally caught off guard. I'll be 46 in Sept. My only hope is that I can reinvent myself in another industry other than print or publishing. I've been in this business since I was 16 years old. This is my second layoff in 17 months for similar reasons. They want a professional to come in to straighten out the business, but once things are back on track, are handed over to the bean counters to manage. There is no loyalty, no long term view and no regard for the production staff. Production has become a "cost center" and a "dumping ground". The thought process that we will just hire anyone off the street to get it done and if the production staff or supplier screws up, we will just get another, one prevails. When I started in this business, we were craftsmen, now we are overhead.

I've got ink in my veins, but the passion has faded. One door closes, another one opens.

Please keep the newsletters coming.
(Submitted by a Former Senior Production Director and long time BoSacks reader)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: On Media Buyers, Mags, and Football
Digital doom and gloom. Analyst, pundits and vested interests all insist on it. Meanwhile they are probably shorting the New York Times Company and Washington Post while even the Oracle of Omaha says the print business is challenging. Thing is, margins are margins and if you are a profitable print venue, with North of a 40% ad content (many are closer to 50% ads or even for many fashion books 70% ads!), you are making tidy sums indeed. Harder to do with constant USPS increases, paper price creep upwards and distribution hurdles let alone printer consolidation giving you fewer option.

Print that has an online tie in seems to be the ticket. Not some cheap online webpage like the often dismal reader service cards in the back of the trade pubs, but real vibrant streaming video, links to related blogs and ties to advertiser product demonstrations. Not hard sell- inform and offer a good product and the world will beat a path to your door or am I paraphrasing WR Hearst here and totally sounding dated?

All the same, an audience that trusts your content is the best asset.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Ask Yourself, Do I feel lucky? Well do you, punk?
Bob, I'm sure you can guess my response to this. No, I don't fell lucky. Having just lost my 2nd job in the last two years due to cost cutting measures, the painting on the wall is quite clear that the middle management production professionals are a dying breed. My prediction: Publishers will continue to publish, mostly electronically. Those publications that can support itself in print will be sent directly to the printer, who in turn will manage everything from files, ads, paper and distribution. Writers, editors and graphic artists will be able to work more from home, thus eliminating the need for brick and mortar office buildings, further cutting overhead costs. If paper and postage costs continue to rise at double digit rates and ad dollars continue to stay stagnant, we may see this evolution quicker than a decade. It's now survival of the fittest.
(Submitted by a Man on the Street)

Living in the past you accomplish nothing, living in the future, you can only dream, ask me what I did today and I might give you direction.

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Ask Yourself, Do I feel lucky? Well do you, punk?
I see print on paper never leaving our hands! And someday, some young kid getting out of school will come up with a bright idea to publish his ideas on paper and send it in the mail thinking this is novel idea. Hopefully, what is old is new!

Excuse me while I get up to turn my record over to the "B" side.
(Submitted by an Unknown)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Ask Yourself, Do I feel lucky? Well do you, punk?
You ask, how long I intend to keep working? Those plans changed when the early 21st Century stock market crash hit. Today, my retirement plans consist of hoping they let me keep working long enough to drop dead at my desk. And maybe, if I am really lucky, it will happen on a business trip. Then my wife will get two times the face value of my company life insurance. There's always hope.
(Submitted by a Printer)

Re: BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Time, Newsweek, and Staying Employed, Circ
Good stuff. The printing rep. response is so true. After 40 years in the paper business, I can only remember a handful of printing rep's who knew their company's capabilities. We would get requests for paper quotations from the uninformed printing rep's and ask ourselves, do these folks know who they are working for, because nothing fit their company? If they did get unlucky and get a job, we would end up sending the paper to a printer they farmed the job out to do the work and they would lose their you know what.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: Filling Landfills with New Books
In "Filling Landfills with New Books," blogger Sylvia Day complains that hundreds of books are thrown away at the end of a book publishers' conference called the Romantic Times Convention. Naturally, I was shocked to hear that unwanted reading material was being discarded (as any magazine publisher would be). I decided to check out the conference at . After seeing the kinds of titles under discussion, all I can say is, "Keep tossing!"
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Filling Landfills with New Books
Good Lord--this is a problem that seemingly intelligent people can't solve? If that's the case, thenf orget about solving global warming.

How about this: The conference planner calls local libraries or senior centers before the event, and gets them to send a small truck to the hotel loading dock at the end of the show. Or, at the grassroots level, four attendes can share a cab to the nearest public or high school library, or senior center, or foster home, or hospital, on the last day of the show. They use their wheelie suitcases to bring along as many books as they can. They ask the cab to wait five minutes, and then they bring the books inside and give them to the librarian. They got back to the hotel, pack their clothes, and go home.
(Submitted by senior Editor)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Your Ad Here
Wow that's an interesting story too bad I drive old cars. I tell you who should take on that approach....NASA. The space program never has enough cash to get things built quick enough. Let's get some free parts for the new space shuttles and slap the company's logo on the side of them. We could have a base on the moon by now if we took that approach and would probably have better equipment as well.
(Submitted by a Senior Paper Manager)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Your Ad Here
Believe it or not, this concept is not new. In 1976, my father was paid to drive his VW Beetle, painted green and silver and plastered with Kool cigarette decals, to and from work in downtown Chicago. My parents have never smoked, but they sure appreciated the extra income. . . . the Surgeon General's warning was also affixed to the car! Next to the rear passenger side window, in fact.

The advertising company would only paint Beetles. You had to leave your car with them for one day, and you didn't know which of five products you were going to get. In addition to Kool cigarettes, there was some brand of shampoo that would have had our car covered in pink and orange flower decals.
(Submitted by a Global Procurement & Manager)

RE: Men's Magazines turn the Page on their Adolescence
Interesting. Any way you cut it, my husband is all man. He reminds me of a cross between Jack Bauer and Jesse James (of Sandra Bullock marriage, but maybe the outlaw, too!). He also has a penchant for nice things (cigars, John Lobb shoes, Kiton shirts, pocket squares, and cars). He's 35 years old and thinks Men's Vogue is hands down the best magazine published for men today.
(Submitted by an Editor in Chief)

RE: The Worst PR Debacle in History
Bob, I've been lucky enough to visit China several times on magazine production business, including Hong Kong six times, Beijing twice, and Shenyang once. (Shenyang is a city of more than 7 million, but most Americans have never heard of it.) The working conditions, pollution, and production of poisonous or dangerous products is as described in this article. The responsibility, however, is joint - both the Chinese businessman, who comes from an entirely non-Western culture, operates without the "ethical" boundaries that most of us adhere to, as part of his busines DNA. Equally to blame is the purchasing agent from WalMart, or any other large buyer of off-shore produced goods, who insists only on lowest price, without regard to environmental or societal consequences. The Chinese supplier will do ANYTHING to reduce the cost of his goods, in the hopes of making the sale. It is the responsibility of the buyer to review the conditions under which goods being sold by his firm are manufactured. Unfortunately, today's Wall Street culture of money is everything is too often used as an excuse to not address these real, and serious issues. I'd love to see some news articles about what the TRUE cost of Chinese manufactured goods are - factoring in pollution, environment, and child labor, to start. Making things in the USA might not seem so expensive.
(Submitted by a Senior Production Director)

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