It's been a week since Plastics News broke the story on major changes in the plastics publishing market, with the decision by United Business Media Ltd. to stop printing Injection Molding Magazine and Modern Plastics Worldwide. Bob Grace, editorial director of Plastics News Global Group, follows up our report from last week with this column -- posted today -- on the changes in the plastics publishing business. I've also received quite a few emails and phone calls from readers since the news broke. One of the first, and most thoughtful, came from Scott Collins, who operates Collins Marketing Communications Inc., a full-service PR and advertising firm in Cleveland. Scott is a former plastics magazine editor, he has been writing about plastics since 1977. His firm specializes in serving suppliers to the plastics industry. With his permission, here's a copy of Scott's column: The end of an era It is hard to think of what to say about the demise of Modern Plastics and Injection Molding magazines. It seems a bit like watching the demolition of the last big old house in a historical section of town. Yes, the old building had lost a bit of its grandeur in recent years and yes, recent renovations really had changed it a lot and, yes, there are still nice houses on the street, but still it's gone or soon will be. There will be an empty space where once there was a living, thriving family that contributed to the culture of our community for decades. Modern Plastics covered our industry before it was an industry. Before nylon, before injection molding, before most of us alive today. As the decades have come and gone, as plastics technology advanced into the space age and beyond, Modern Plastics was there, like a fortress, impregnable against the passage of time. It is awe-inspiring to think of the history Modern has covered. Until today. The fact that Injection Molding is folding along with Modern Plastics is interesting and poignant too. While Modern was the venerable old title, Injection Molding was an upstart, sprung from the vacuum created after the fall of Plastics Machinery & Equipment, Plastics Design Forum and Plastics Compounding. Injection Molding was a new breed of magazine, with fresh, innovative editorial. In many ways it changed how the plastics industry was covered. Changed how injection molders viewed their industry. As molders evolved beyond the shops that started in someone's garage to include multinational powerhouse processors, as a shoot-and-ship business changed to embrace quality and technical precision as the means to survive in an increasingly global market, Injection Molding, the magazine, grew in readership and influence. It was part of the first wave of change that swept our plastics "neighborhood" two decades ago but I fear that wave was just a ripple compared to this most recent tsunami. The plastics industry is alive and, if not well, at least recovering from its recent bout of economic pneumonia. The plastics industry will continue without Modern Plastics and Injection Molding, just as it continued without Plastics World and PM&E. Plastics News remains, as does Plastics Technology. And UBM Canon says that Modern and IMM will live on in the Plastics Today web-world. Still, our industry feels emptier today. Kind of the way it felt back in the late '70 and '80s when all the U.S. molding machine manufacturers began folding and merging or selling out to European owners. Gone were significant names like Lester, Natco, Reed-Prentice, Beloit, Ingersol-Rand, Farrel, New Britain and, finally, Van Dorn, Newbury and HPM. Our industry has moved on without them and, for good or ill, it will move on without Modern Plastics and Injection Molding. The world is finding new ways to communicate... channels that don't require paper and ink and postage... and we are all adapting, accepting the challenge that new ways of doing business present. This "new normal" will be simply "normal" to the young people entering the industry in this, the beginning of the 21st Century. For now, though... for today... please join me in stopping for a moment to remember what was, and to think about the people and the history and the legacy of these two fine magazines. It's the least we can do for them, since they gave so much to us.
Some thoughts on plastics publishing
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