Monday, August 24, 2020

Dead-Tree Editions Are Dying, But Dead Tree Edition Lives

The pandemic has been death for dead-tree-edition periodicals, but other types of print are doing just fine. 

Direct mail, for example, is as relevant as ever, as I explained in an article published last week by Printing Impressions. (Yes, it really is based on a true story.) Marketing mail can do things that other media, whether old or new, simply cannot match. 

The “hoax” that will disappear as soon as warm weather arrives has kept things busy at plants that print books, boxes, and floor graphics as well. Likewise, Dead Tree Edition is undergoing a transformation. Turning over a new leaf, you might say. The seed dies, but from it springs new life. 

My six-year stint writing the monthly View from the Tree column for Publishing Executive has come to an end. Almost simultaneously, PubExec and its rival, Folio:, went silent at the end of June, both victims of their heavy reliance on live events. 

When the two publications went all digital a few years ago, we mourned that there was no longer a magazine that covered the U.S. magazine industry. Now there’s no longer even a web publisher that focuses solely on the U.S. magazine-media industry. 

But Mr. Tree is just fine. I’ll now be writing regularly for Printing Impressions, the leading trade publication for the U.S. printing industry. I’m no stranger to its audience because it has often republished my articles that first appeared in it sibling, PubExec. 

In fact, four years of my PubExec columns have now been re-posted at Printing Impressions. The last one was about the U.S. Postal Service; I have a feeling I'll be writing a few more of those.

Those who are gluttons for punishment can still find the full collection, stretching back to 2011 before the column became a regular gig, at PubExec.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Publisher Whacks Trump's Pecker

The marketing company that owns Us Weekly and other magazines announced late yesterday that it had rid the magazine industry of its biggest embarrassment.

Accelerate is merging with (that is, taking over) scandal-ridden American Media, Inc. and kicking its controversial CEO, David J. Pecker, to an "Executive Advisor" role. ("David, we've got a big wad of money for you if you can manage to stay out of trouble and keep your mouth shut.")

Pecker is infamous for guiding AMI's "catch-and-kill" hush-money payments -- to porn star Stormy Daniels among others -- to block rather than publish potentially damaging articles about his associates, most notably his long-time friend Donald Trump. He was granted immunity by the feds in exchange for cooperating with their investigation.

During most of 2016, Pecker turned the Enquirer into a pro-Trump propaganda organ full of lies about his opponents so outrageous that they would have made Joseph Goebbels blush. It was a far cry from the era when it published significant investigative journalism, including the photo that crashed the 1988 presidential campaign of former Sen. Gary Hart. 

Let's just hope that Pecker's new advisory role at A360 (the merged company's new name) doesn't include providing guidance about journalism ethics or legal matters.