Jan 8 - (WhatTheyThink.com) - Earl Wilken passed away on Janaury 4, 2007. Wilken had over 40 years of editorial experience mostly in the graphic arts industry. He served 17 years as a Technical Editor for Editor & Publisher magazine prior to his 18 years as Associate Editor for Graphic Arts Monthly. Prior to that, he worked for several years with publications including Research & Development Magazine and Datamation. He also served for 15 years on the Advisory Board for The Center for Graphic Communications Management and Technology at New York University.
Below are comments from Patrick Henry, Frank Romano, Dr. Joe Webb and Craig Kevghas.
Patrick Henry, Executive Editor, WhatTheyThink.com
"Earl Wilken was a gentleman of the old school, but nobody was more up-to-the-minute as a journalist than he. Earl immersed himself in graphic communications technology not just because it was his job, but because he took real pleasure in understanding what made it tick and how it was driving the trends that his readers relied on him to explain. He had an equal curiosity about the people behind the developments, from the R&D experts in the labs to the CEOs in the suites to the sales reps in the streets. All of this was reflected in the scope and variety of his reporting, in which he covered every major milestone in the industry's transformation into the form of digitally-driven manufacturing that, thanks to him, we recognize it to be today.
"In these ways, Earl was a genuine role model for all of us in the graphic communications trade media. But in my opinion, he set us his finest example in the acceptance speech he made as the third recipient of the Tom McMillan Award—an honor bestowed upon the best members of our profession by the vote of their peers. In those remarks, Earl urged us never to forget our editorial integrity—our obligation as journalists to put our readers' needs and interests first, regardless of the ethical conflicts that the business of publishing for profit sometimes presents. Earl's message, courageous then and not repeated enough by the rest of us since, is even more urgent now. Earl's brave stand for integrity is the legacy for which I believe he will be most reverently remembered.
"I will miss Earl's booming laugh, his twinkling eye, and his unfailing good fellowship. I will miss him knowing that I am better off as a graphic arts writer and as a person for having tried to follow where he delighted in leading all of us."
Dr. Joe Webb:
"Earl was always excited about technology. I'll never forget having a discussion with him about his latest thoughts about what was just in Wired magazine. 'Earl,' I said, 'most people my age don't even read Wired!' He chuckled and we had a good laugh about it. I was appreciative of his support of my efforts and his frank opinions which made those efforts better. He was intensely curious about how technologies outside of our business at the time would soon be changing our industry, and bringing news of them to his readers.
"He was very supportive of the NYU Graphic Communications and Technology program, serving on its board, and making it possible for me and other students to be in a curriculum that changed all of our careers for the better."
"Earl Wilken was one of the nicest people you could ever deal with. I first dealt with him in 1965 when I worked in the ad department of the old Mergenthaler Linotype Company. He was at that time the sales rep for Editor & Publisher magazine. He sort of adopted me and invited me to E&P and more meetings than I can recall. He published my first editorial contribution -- I think it was a quote about phototypesetting. Before joining Editor & Publisher, Wilken worked on the original concept for Datamation which covered the computer data processing industry. He had a passion for technology and loved to talk about it.
"Earl moved into editorial at E&P and, in all, spent 17 years with the publication. He became associate editor of Graphic Arts Monthly, editing the digital technologies section of the magazine. He also taught a course to graduate students at New York University on electronic publishing and, in 2001, received the McMillan Editorial Award. He was a gentleman, a good friend, and a person who made a difference in his industry. He will be missed by those who knew him."
Craig Kevghas, Boston PR Network
"When I first joined the industry in '87, Earl Wilken was one of, if not "the" top editor. He represented Graphic Arts Monthly at the time. I remember hearing all the stories of how tough he was and how as a PR guy you had to have your stuff together if you wanted any chance of him covering you. Almost from our first encounter, Earl started giving me the business and challenged just about everything I told him. At first I was taken aback, but soon I learned that was his way to ensure you knew what you were talking about.
"In the nearly 20 years I worked with Earl, he was always a consummate professional, a advocate of the industry, and a friend. Earl was also a packrat! I remember GAM was moving offices and the day before the move I visited Earl on a press tour. He showed me his "annex room" which was simply a cubical where he stored old industry information. Earl had accumulated news releases, articles, interview notes, and research books dating as far back as the early 70's. He told me he always had to be ready if he needed archived information. The next day, I think it took three guys over a day just to clean out Earl's annex room.
"In 2001, Earl was the winner of the McMillan Award as the industry's top editor. The award is given annually to the editor or writer who exhibits journalistic integrity and professionalism, an understanding of the industry, as well as its technologies and applications, and acts as a role model for other journalists, as voted upon by their peers. Earl was the epitome of the why the award was created.
"I last spoke to Earl in November and he told me how he loved every day in the printing industry. To the end, he was still trying to figure out a way to write for the industry again. I wouldn't be surprised if he's interviewing Gutenberg right now. Look for that exclusive any day now!
"I will always remember the man with the crooked smile, a flair for humorous sarcasm, and an ability to find the real story. Earl was a true gentleman, a delightful character, and a passionate lover of the industry. I am deeply saddened by his passing."
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