Frank Romano on the changing printing industry
Published on October 31, 2012
Frank Romano comments on two news items that caught his eye: Scholastic discontinuing the printing of Weekly Reader and The Daily Press selling off it's printing press. He uses this news as a jumping off point to comment on the changing nature of the printing industry.
Frank Romano: Hi, this is Frank Romano for whattheythink.com. Welcome back to another episode of whatever this is. Two stories that got my attention and they are somewhat related. The first was that the Weekly Reader shut down. For those of you who are Americans you will remember in grade school getting My Weekly Reader which was a small children-oriented newspaper, if you will. I grew up on that and I thought it was wonderful to read news. That got me started reading newspapers and I can’t quit reading newspapers today. I’m addicted to them, by the way, both in print and online.
They were absorbed into Scholastic and Scholastic also has publications in that area and they competed with Weekly Reader. In any case the Weekly Reader is gone and Scholastic and the newspaper that they do for kids is still there. One major printed product is gone.
That relates to this one and it says presses made history at the Daily Press. This is about a newspaper that has gotten rid of their printing press. They closed it down. In July 2012 their gigantic Goss offset press, which they installed in 1983 and had been upgraded many times over the years, was sold off. Now, in some cases you can sell it and someone will buy it in the United States. Most often it is sold overseas where they think that is new technology and they get it at a lower price. The reason they gave was that their newspaper had lost print circulation because people were reading on iPads and computers the copy that they used to read on paper.
These two articles are somewhat related. We lost my Weekly Reader which was printed on paper so there is one big printed product that is gone. As we lose those big printed products because people use electronic media then we don’t need those big printing presses anymore. So the number of printing presses in the United States is declining.
This is sort of a sad tenor to this particular episode but my feeling is that it is part of the warp and woof of change. It is the way the world goes. We drive cars today, we don’t ride horses anymore. Everything we do has changed. If you go back just in my lifetime the changes that have taken place in the way we communicate and the way we operate in society have been overwhelming so why would they not affect the printing industry. The printing industry will undergo change and when it comes out the other side it will be a different kind of printing industry but it will still be a printing industry. It will use new technologies and new approaches to provide communication techniques and methods and solutions for people who need to communicate, publish and inform other of what is going on. So electronic media and print media will coexist for a long time. I don’t think print will ever completely disappear but it will diminish to a lower point. These articles only indicate that those changes are there and they are not going away and that is my opinion.
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