Starting with IPEX 2002, this blog covers events relevant for UK print, including Seybold and DRUPA. See also website at

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lawrence Wallis in today's Printweek is realistic about change and the headline even finds a welcome for changes in technology. It is suggested that moving upmarket to higher quality is only a short term remedy when new techniques become possible. Two examples are given. "Most seismic was the onset of desktop publishing (DTP) in 1985 that rocked and destabilised the prevailing pre-press establishment." There, that is enough direct quoting. You can't just copy stuff out of Printweek as if it was something from the blog of Roy Greenslade.

The second example given is colour repro on personal computers sometime later. Once described as "good enough" this is now apparently widely accepted.

There is still professional pre-press of course but at IPEX the term most widely used was "pre-media". There is still some video editing kit that is not available at Currys Digital.

But for DTP it is now possible to imagine that the technology available at home is good enough for most purposes. Amazon probaly stock most of what anyone would need.
Adobe have announced Flex 2 alongside an updated Flash. This is for 'rich internet applications' and links to XML data on the server. I don't understand when or why to prefer it to LiveCycle and PDF. I am getting more and more confused about Adobe. I have written a sort of report on Acrobat Services dotcom but it is pretty clear this is not based on any info about wher LiveCycle may be going.
Roy Greenslade has responded to my earlier post about his new blog. Briefly my request is that he should find some way to do an updated version of the circulation studies he used to do in the print version of the Guardian media pages.

For one thing he is fairly well placed to guess at what a business model might be like in the minds of people at the Guardian or Telegraph. Sometime later ABC will be allowed to publish some joined up figures.

Below is a complete cut and paste from his blog and my comment


One final noteworthy comment came from ipex2002 who offered me a "big welcome as a blogger" and said I showed "much understanding for the blogosphere". Then he added:

"Unfortunately I find the blog is made up of too many short items. I was hoping for something like the analysis Roy Greenslade used to do of circulation figures for newspapers. The ABC numbers could be compared over the years and made some sense of where each newspaper was going."
I'm happy to say, ipex2002, that I plan to do just that in future. As soon as the monthly figures are released I'll run an analysis. Some might feel this to be a bit "old media", but print newspapers remain influential and, anyway, charting their sales decline is more than a nod to new media's growing importance. I've also been pushing for a coherent and authoritative monthly audit of newspapers' online hits and quantity of users. There's a lot going on on that front and the council of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) is trying to work out a way of providing a regular chart.


my comment


Thanks for responding to the request in the IPEX2002 blog. What I would really like is some industry agreed business model that showed how a news organisation was doing in each context, print circulation and online stats. I realise this is asking a lot. If there is a business model nobody is too open on what it is. ABC seem to find it hard to get agreement on what to publish. The 'digital editions' were I thought ok to add to print circulation figures, but no newspaper seems to have done this.

Still, I think this is the way your blog is going and the fact that you now concentrate online says something about trends.

I don't read all of your blog, but Technorati seems effective enough to find mentions of IPEX2002...



Will Pollard (will787 on Guardian talk)

Monday, June 26, 2006

I suppose proper journalists report actual news as they have sources. In a blog it is ok to just ask a question and confess to ignorance.

What is supposed to be good about Acrobat 8.0 ? Apparently it will appear in the fourth quarter of this year. This is June, the summer drift has started, at least for me, but still as memory serves on the previous seven occasions there was some kind of rumor as to what to expect.

Having listened to a webcast of the recent briefings for financial analysts I can say that I have some idea of where Flash is going and what to expect from the next Creative Suite. But the only information on Acrobat 8.0 is that the upgrades will be a boost to income.

Just had a look at Google blogsearch and this seems to still be the main aspect.
According to Sundar Mudaliyar for PDF Converting, "Cowen and Company said investors worried over Adobe's disappointing guidance for the fourth quarter should take comfort in the launch of Adobe's new Acrobat 8.0 product, set for launch in November.

Analyst Walter Pritchard said the launch of Acrobat 8.0 in the fall could boost revenue by 29% sequentially."

The question is though "what are the features that will encourage the upgrade?", at least that seems a reasonable question at some point.

Sundar Mudaliyar has only limited information- "Acrobat 8.0 will offer users enhanced interactivity features to counter Microsoft's Vista operating system, which is slated for launch in early 2007 and could include PDF conversion tools."

OK, "enhanced interactivity", what can this mean? There is some information coming out from the Flash end of Adobe around 'Apollo' which seems to be a way to work offline with a web environment. Currently I find that Acrobat can capture web pages with Flash but the result can disappear when you save it. Maybe a future PDF will work better as a Flash container. Is that it?

Acrobat is now part of a 'knowledge worker' business unit that also works with Breeze. I find Breeze ok except that I miss having a record later as you do with a PDF set of slides. Maybe Acrobat 8 will include a Breeze plugin.

Whatever the guessing might be about Flash, has PDF development come to an end? This could be the real worry around the Microsoft issues. Creating PDF for static office documents and litho pages is pretty well sorted out and may not remain the sort of function that can be charged at a premium.

So information on what Acrobat 8 actually offers would be interesting.
Jeff Jarvis is well in touch with the UK at this time. He has a lot on the BBC and repeats some views on the Guardian. I have added a comment there.

Briefly, I find I am reaching a limit on accepting the way the Guardian is reporting the shift to online and participatory. Their own moves are ok but they seem to knock anything else. After a while it stops making much sense.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Guardian and Observer are still confusing when it comes to blogs and the web. They seem to be moving that way but still raise questions about anything on the scene other than themselves.

Today Peter Preston suggests we should 'beware false prophets of the internet age', a reference to Sir Martin Sorrell. Preston shows how the structures of advertising agencies are challenged by the web just as much as print media. "We're all in this together." What is supposed to follow from this? The facts of the trends remain the same. Group M forecast that internet advertisement spend will overtake national press spend by the end of 2006.

The Group M figures are just about the UK. Preston also mentions Omynews with 21,000 'citizen reporters', quote marks as appearing in the Observer. First, a few correction on detail. There is an 'h' in OhmyNews. The founder is Oh Yeon-ho. There are currently about 41,000 citizen reporters for the Korean site and approaching 1000 for the English language site.

More disturbing is the continued use of quote marks around the term "citizen journalism". Why is it that professional print journalists have difficulty in using these words directly with the same meaning as on the OhmyNews site and other places? At least Emily Bell had been direct enough to state that she thinks the term is "horrible" but she has yet to explain why. Is it something about the UK, where we are all supposed to be subjects?

Is it because citizen journalism is seen as too close to blogging? The 'Comment is Free' approach seems to me to combine an attempt to take on the format of a blog while continuing to criticise most of the blogs that previously existed. Preston recently wrote that "Most Guardian journalists....are still in the throes of blogging adjustment. Don't pronounce from on high, or polish too hard. Get down there on the ground in the democracy pit, rubbing shoulders with the southern California wing of Blogosphere Inc. Be one of the boys, like one of your readers. Cultivate a folksy, conversational voice." This was in a comment claiming that search engines now determined a style of writing that can be easily understood and has destroyed the fine traditions of puns in headlines.

As one of many reasons for print journalists not to be too alarmed, Preston points out that "what works in Korea may not work anywhere else". There is no reporting on the English language version of OhmyNews though the number of citizen reporters is up from 300 at the time of the first conference last year. Next month the conference will include information on the new Japanese site. Maybe Preston will come back to this later.

To my mind the most significant recent news is not even mentioned, unless it was included last week and I missed it. The Guardian will offer a free PDF version of online news for readers to print out and carry about. It is assumed that such free offers will help the future audience for web sites. Maybe the Times has a similar idea in publishing print in the USA, where the growth is seen for London online titles.

Round about now, the net is closing in. The web is the main news medium. Print is peripheral. It is all over for the Sunday newspapers.

And finally, Preston takes a very cheap shot at John Simpson just because Simpson links UK tabloids with "false stories" and "interferance in people's private lives". Researching Simpson's autobiography Preston finds dialogue between Simpson's parents from the time that Simpson was little more than a year old. Preston raises the question of how there can have been a shorthand note.

In the comment about search engines, Preston has a few positive things to say about blogging as the scene is not threatening to some traditions of journalism. "I started in journalism because of Thomas Nash and the pamphleteers of London's coffee houses more than 400 years back - because, with no press, let alone a Commentisfree one, society functioned by superlative samizdat and the semi-private phrasemaker was king."

Was he there at the time? Can he show us the notebook?