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Printing News Group Joins WTT Media to Expand Independent Industry Coverage

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Press release from the issuing company

Watch: Kelley Holmes and Richard Romano talk about the exciting news!

WTT Media, the parent company of WhatTheyThink.com, today announced that the Printing News Group is joining the organization to strengthen the industry’s most extensive independent news and analysis platform with both print and digital media covering commercial printing, wide format, labels, packaging, signage, specialty graphics, textiles and other industrial applications of print technology.

Kelley Holmes, former Group Publisher at SouthComm, recently acquired the assets of PrintingNews.com, Printing News, Inkjet’s Age and Wide-Format & Signage magazines. Holmes will be joining WTT Media as a partner and Vice President.

"The printing industry needs a strong independent multi-media resource to provide trustworthy commentary and analysis, discussion of emerging technology and critical industry trends, and deliver advanced coverage of technology demonstrations in areas such as new printing techniques and materials, interactive print and more," said Kelley Holmes.  "I'm excited to team up with WhatTheyThink to develop cutting edge print and digital media products that inform executives about our evolving industry to provide them with the inspiration and insight they need to plan for the future of their businesses,” she continued.

The combined businesses will work in tandem—both creating original content and sharing content for each publication and website—while keeping the unique nature of each intact yet maximizing the content developed by the talented group of industry experts across the entire portfolio.

“WhatTheyThink is a digital native and pioneer in providing high quality commentary and analysis to the industry using the latest web technologies,” said Eric Vessels of WhatTheyThink. “By working together with Kelley, we'll be able to leverage her print media expertise with our extensive online experience to build a unique cross-platform information source that demonstrates the power and synergy of both print and digital media.”

For more information about the expanded WhatTheyThink and Printing News Group offerings, visit WhatTheyThink.com and PrintingNews.com.

About Kelley Holmes

Kelley Holmes owns and manages Printing News, Wide-Format & Signage, Inkjet’s Age,and PrintingNews.com. She previously worked as Group Publisher for SouthComm Business Media and acquired the publications in July 2018 after working as part of the team for 25 years.  She was formerly an account executive for Quick Printing, Southern Graphics, & Artes Graficas under the ownership of Rob Schweiger, founder of Quick Printing (now Printing News) and owner of Coast Publishing, until it was acquired by Cygnus Business Media in 1995. Shortly after, she became Associate Publisher under the ownership of PTN Publishing and then, in 2004, was named Publisher of Quick Printing for Cygnus Business Media (now SouthComm) taking over the Printing Portfolio in 2009.  Kelley and her team have worked to integrate the Printing group brands, transitioning the publications into the Sign Market and building the business strategy of the current multi-media web portal. She also published the GRAPH EXPO/ PRINT Show Daily for 7 years working with the Association for Printing Technologies (formerly NPES).  

About WhatTheyThink

WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization. WhatTheyThink offers a wide range of unbiased, real-time market intelligence, peer-to-peer communication, and special reports on emerging trends, technology, and critical events affecting the commercial printing, wide format, labels, packaging, signage, specialty graphics, textiles and industrial printing.

WhatTheyThink’s membership subscriber base reaches 140,000 people around the globe, two thirds in North America. Members pay a nominal annual fee to access premium content.  Most recently, the company added additional areas of special interest, including finishing and textiles, drawing on industry experts to manage those sections and contribute commentary and analysis. The company also offers video services, webinars, custom content and more.

About the Printing News Group

Printing News is celebrating 90 years in the market this year. Over 76,900 subscribers receive coverage of the market through several key avenues, including the best of the monthly content in the Printing News print publication; the Wide-Format & Signage publication; the Inkjet’s Age publication, a special section within the pages of Printing News; and, our web portal PrintingNews.com.

PrintingNews.com is a daily digital data warehouse of content that features web exclusive content, channelized targeted video content, photo galleries, webinars, blogs, and shares more than 53,500 content items that can be accessed globally. Complemented by Daily eNewsletters, subscribers can research any company or product in the graphic and visual communications industries through this essential online resource that connects buyers and sellers in the marketplace with real-time lead generation.

 

Discussion

By Robert Godwin on Jul 24, 2018

"The printing industry needs a strong independent multi-media resource to provide trustworthy commentary..."

'Independent’ of what? Of whom? More begging the question than citing the structure that would prove independence. As with any publication based on sponsored support, my skepticism of news media remains active.

Perhaps a more diversified ad base would help. I would love to hear a further explanation of how independence goes beyond feature analysis and user experiences. Challenging I am sure. Who would advertise in a publication if their product was thoroughly reviewed (think Ars Technica or TechCrunch).

Why am I humming “You Always Hurt the One You Love”?

 

By Eric Vessels on Jul 25, 2018

Hey Robert,

Sorry for the delay in responding. Been a busy week! ;-)

The independence we speak of in the press release is something we've taken seriously since startup back in 2000. Of what and of whom? Any outside source that would affect our coverage of the industry in a way that doesn't fully inform our readers and members. Do we always get it right? No, but we also continue to learn and get better. There are several reasons why our independent voice is unique in the industry.

First, we're not owned or run by a larger publishing entity. It's still just many of the same people doing the same things we've done for 18 years now. We still run our business like a start up and have an entrepreneurial culture. This allows us to be more responsive to the industry overall in terms of coverage. Can larger publishers still be objective? Of course, but we don't have the pressures larger publishers feel to financially support larger overheads. One example is our decision early on to never rent our email list. It's a tempting and potentially financially rewarding move, but it betrays our promise to our members and we haven't done it.

Second, vendors have had very little input on our commentary and analysis other than fact-checking over the years. Where content is sponsored by a vendor, we try to clearly label that. Same thing we do with content that is supplied by a vendor (like press releases), though sometimes people still mistake those for "articles". [Sigh]

Third, We try to avoid putting ourselves in situations that would affect our ability to objectively cover what is happening in the industry that we care deeply about. We are diligent about contemplating the types of partnerships we enter into to ensure those never prevent us from providing the kind of independent, high-value industry coverage we are known for.

Lastly, the majority of our content is not sponsored or sold. Our underlying model is not "pay-to-play". We create content to inform and inspire and hopefully move the industry forward. Our sponsors have endorsed this approach by providing their support. Some have claimed that our content supports our advertisers, but it's the exact opposite. Our advertisers support good content by being a part of it and leveraging the exposure.

I will also tell you this. I've fielded more calls by a factor of ten from advertisers who weren't happy about how they were mentioned or not mentioned in our coverage than I have from readers and members complaining about bias. This is something I don't mind and find a natural outcome of our model. We sought to inform first and monetize later. We've even lost some advertisers because we wouldn't bend in allowing our writers and editors free reign to share their thoughts and educate our members. Ask any of our contributors sometime and see what they say.

I stand firmly by Kelley's statement in the release that the industry needs a strong and independent media source for trustworthy commentary. It's not only our vision for the future of WhatTheyThink, but a founding principle.

Thanks for the comment and please do keep being skeptical. We'll keep doing our best to maintain a high reputation among our members and the industry at large.

 

By Steve Bonoff on Jul 27, 2018

Well said, Eric. I can only imagine the pressure on today's news media to maintain a business model that serves both profits and objectivity. Keep up the good work.

 

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