Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence
Courtesy of BoSacks and The Precision Media Group 
America's Oldest e-newsletter est.1993


We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.

George Bernard Shaw 

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BoSacks Speaks Out: My friend Dead Tree whom I have affectionately called Deaddy to his face, has penned a beautiful essay below. To it I would like to add my own frustration as to how we as an industry market the infrastructure of what we do. For people in the communication business, paper companies, printers and publishers together have done a very poor job of explaining to the public why dealing with trees as a renewable/reusable resource is a good and wonderful thing.


In the past decade or more we have relied on the term sustainability in our communications to the public. I am afraid to report that for the general public the term is useless and has no genuine affection or attraction for what we do and how green our industry actually is. Sustainability is a scientific word and as a scientific term there is nothing warm and fuzzy about it. We need a "Got Milk" campaign. We need a "we are number two and we try harder" tag line. We need to appeal to the public with the truth in an acceptable and very friendly way, in a way that will create understanding where there currently is none.


The truth is that we are tree shepherds. We are farmers who replant more trees in any given year than we harvest. Our products are totally reusable. 


I have been thinking, pondering and using all my creative juices for many years, and I still haven't been able to catch the right phrasing to use in a broad campaign to inform the general public that "we got trees".  There are 16,000 people on this list that are knee deep in this industry and creativity, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that one of you have the creative juices to help me develop a universally understood, simple marketing phrase that explains our love of the planet, and our genuine adoption of, if you will pardon the expression "sustainability".  Someone out there can explain the recycling nature of what we do in the simplest of terms. Please help the industry explain what and why we do what we do.

I Knew I Was in the Production Department When . . .

BY D. Eadward Tree



I toured a publishing company recently that had no signs marking the various departments, but I didn't need a sign to know when I was among the folks who buy paper and plan print projects.

Most departments looked pretty much the same -- people sitting at computers. OK, you could spot the designers because they had Macs and big monitors, but otherwise the differences were subtle -- a bit more phone chatter in ad sales, more arguments in editorial, more gossip in circulation.

As an environmentalist, I noticed that every department had recycling bins. And whether people worked mostly in old media or new media, they used those bins the same: as garbage cans.

Then I rounded a corner and saw it -- a recycling bin with a cover that had two holes, indicating it was for bottles and cans. And it actually contained only bottles and cans!

"For paper only" 
Nearby was another recycling bin with a sign saying, "For paper only." And people were actually obeying the sign!

I knew right away I was in the production department. (Some of my colleagues in the industry like to call it the operations department because these days they're also doing things like preparing mailings, building web pages, or selling reprints. And some like to call it the manufacturing department, which really throws off the people who cold-call on behalf of factory consultants, only to find that American magazine publishers outsource all of their manufacturing.)

Anyway, this was not an isolated incident. I consistently find that the people in the industry who really care about environmental issues are the ones who buy paper or put ink on it.

They're the only ones you'll hear talking about sustainable forestry, carbon footprint, and the differences between pre-consumer and post-consumer waste (a distinction unique to North America). They understand that forestry industries can benefit the environment, or harm it, and they often wrestle with how to make their companies' paper purchases and other practices more sustainable.

The "print is dead" gang
Meanwhile, the "print is dead" types ignorantly assume they're saving trees, oblivious to the environmental footprints of the web and digital devices. And they rarely lift a finger to make their work any greener.

A similar dichotomy shows up in government. It's no accident that the U.S. Postal Service, the nation's primary distributor of printed pieces, has been far more active on the sustainability front than any other federal agency. There's something about handling printed products that makes people and organizations more environmentally aware and inspires them to take responsibility 

As I noted last week, the dichotomy occurs even at Hearst Corporation, arguably one of the world's greenest large companies. (See Killah in Manilla: Hearst's Green Reputation Tarnished by Subsidiary.)

Hearst's traditional publishing people have meticulously documented the fiber sourcing of the company's magazine paper, pressured paper suppliers to use more sustainable forestry, led industry efforts to make the supply chain greener, and even installed a worm farm at one office. But then an all-digital subsidiary called Manilla ignorantly claimed that its involvement in the "Paperless 2013" campaign will "help improve the environment."

You wanna bet which part of Hearst -- the production department or Manilla -- makes the best use of its recycling bins?

Related articles:

The Takeover of Paperless 2013: How a grassroots guerrilla army is fighting back against the greenwashing sponsored by Manilla, Google and other companies.


Who is Really Behind #Paperless2013?: Can the anti-greenwashing forces claim partial victory? 


OK, Johnny, Now Greenwash Your Hands: Another anti-paper effort based on false premises. And speaking of drying your hands, don't miss this gem: Increased Incidence of Gastroenteritis and The Flu - Could the Solution be Hand Drying With Paper Towels?







bo"The Industry that Vents Together Stays Together"  
Responses to all Articles and Bo-Rants are greatly encouraged and may be included in " BoSacks Readers Speak Out"  =======================================
All news items and the various opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily the opinion of, nor in agreement with the opinions of BoSacks. They are just interesting thoughts and other opinions that BoSacks thinks you should know about.  
After all, as the Japanese proverb goes: 
"If you believe everything you read, perhaps you better not read." 

"Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence:  
Courtesy of  The Precision Media Group.   
Print, Publishing and Media Consultants 
193 Brookwood Drive, Charlottesville VA 22902
Contact - Robert M. Sacks  917-566-7437
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