In a few hours, I’ll join some local construction association leaders for a lunch where, I expect, we’ll review how we can communicate association interests to the wider community. Late last week, almost two weeks after I received the invitation from the association’s executive director, I received an email from its president asking if we could recover a feature published about the group some two decades ago.
Immediately, I emailed the request to our designer who has worked with this business for 22 years. “Yes, I have the files,” he said. “But I’ll have to figure out how to retrieve them because the systems were really different back then.”
A couple of days later, he returned the page layouts set for the printer. As I read through them I realized that the story we would write today would be quite similar to the one published two decades ago.
Oh, the ads. There were dozens of them, stacked up and down some pages — so many ads we could run pages 100 per cent advertising. This was during the time that the Internet was a new thing and maybe a few people might have known about something called Google. Our publication was on newsprint, and I suppose costs reasonably matched revenues.
Today, I’ll see if we can co-ordinate a 40th anniversary feature with the group. It will be a digital magazine product, of course, and the selling effort for the ads (and expectations for response) will be less intense. Technical quality will be much better and we may embed some video as well as hyperlinks within the feature.
So in two decades there are things that are very much the same, and there are things that have changed, but not exponentially. And there are the massive, revolutionary variations; the digital rather than print format for our media; and more importantly, the immediate access, connection, retrieval and data recording of the online version of the publication would have seen impossible when we last produced the association feature.