Mayor Michael Bloomberg has just unveiled a $1.5 million bailout plan that he hopes will create and retain from 6,000 to 8,000 media jobs in New York City. You can read all about it here and here. It will be interesting to see what this elaborate agenda contains for the medium known as printing—assuming that printing has a place in the plan’s definition of “media” to begin with. The mayor’s somewhat hectoring tone wasn’t exactly encouraging. “I've always thought, too easy to blame new media versus old media and say well, we’re not in the right media. If you've got something that people want, they will pay for it. People aren't buying, maybe you're not printing what people need to have," he said in announcing the program. We’ll be keeping an eye on it. In the meantime, here are some news briefs from parts of the country where doing business as a printer may not be quite as complicated as it is in The Big Apple. A story that originally appeared in Business First of Louisville (KY) quotes Ed Chalfoux, president of Printing Industry Association of the South (PIAS), as saying that the group’s members have seen their sales decline by an average of 20% to 30% during the past year. The article goes on to describe what some printers in the region are doing to overcome the effects of the recession. Michael Stewart, president of Voluforms, a digital printing and forms management company in Jeffersonville, IN, says that his firm has limited its losses by diversifying into new document processing technologies. Voluforms also has built up a business in providing printing and software to the healthcare industry. “We’ve done a lot of things to be more on the leading edge,” says Stewart, who directs a workforce of 85 employees in two locations. The Alternative Board is an executive coaching service that creates and facilitates peer groups made up of non-competing small business owners and entrepreneurs. The idea is to let the members act collectively as a “board of directors” for each other by exchanging advice and ideas. A story in the Omaha World-Herald reports that six such groups now meet regularly in the Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE, area, spending four hours a month discussing business issues. Two participants are Omaha printers: Rich Howdle, president of Mail Solutions, a provider of direct mail services; and John Barnhart, president of Barnhart Press, a commercial plant. Howdle is quoted as saying that when someone bring up a problem, other members often have been through it themselves—a shared experience that leads to a sound decision. Barnhart appreciates the “genuine compassion” of his fellow board members and says that the help he has received more than justifies the half-day he invests in swapping ideas with them. The Dispatch of Davidson County, SC, reports that the Davidson County commissioners and the Thomasville, SC, City Council have agreed to pay Laser Print Plus $33,500 each over a five-year period to move to Thomasville, create at least 20 jobs, and invest a minimum of $2.5 million in its new operations. The company will employ about five people initially and eventually grow to the 20 workers required by the economic development agreement. Laser Print Plus is a Columbia, SC-based business that specializes in printing tax and utility bills and financial statements. Its owner, Tim Delaney, says equipment is being moved into a facility at 105 Forest Park Lane that should be operational soon. Laser Print Plus has 180-ppm copying capability and can distribute documents in electronic form either to replace or to supplement printed bills. Delaney is quoted as saying that although some customers have opted to go paperless, this trend “surprisingly has not caught on like people in our industry thought it would.” “Hawaii publishers go digital as demand for print falls” reads the headline of a recent story in the Pacific Business Journal of Honolulu. As more content moves online, the story says, Aloha State printers and publishers have seen demand for printed material drop by as much as 30%. Hagadone Printing Co. has responded by adding new features to its online digital library of magazines and brochures and by developing technology to link local publications to mobile phones and hand-held readers such as Amazon’s Kindle. To respond more promptly to customer demands, Edward Enterprises moved to a new 20,000-sq.-ft. building and installed a high-speed, digitally enabled offset press. But, the times have been tougher for Island Bound Inc., a bindery said by the story to have seen the size of its runs fall by as much as 50% in recent years. The company now has six employees, down from the 12 who were on the payroll when the company was started in 1998; The climate in Arizona is a lot hotter than the climate in Hawaii, and not just meteorologically speaking. In Phoenix, the business climate seems to be torrid indeed for Buse Printing & Packaging, the recession notwithstanding. A story in The Arizona Republic reports that the economy and the company's volume are trending in opposite directions. “I can't believe it. The economy is sinking, but we are busier than ever,” says Mona Buse, who co-founded the sheetfed and web operation with her husband, Ray, in 1968. Today their two sons, Paul and Luke, have joined them in running the business. Besides offering standard commercial products, the Buses print on plastic and Mylar. They also work with scratch-and-sniff inks and produce transfers for temporary tattoos. “I get upset at my husband because he’ll take on these difficult jobs,” Mona is quoted as saying. “We've never turned a customer away.”