Archive for March 2008

Who Knew that About Paper?

March 17, 2008

This Thursday, March 6th, Janet McCarthy Grimm from Lindenmeyr,  came and spoke to my Book Production & Design class about paper.

She walked us through the process of making paper. When they start out with a tree they have two choices: ground wood paper  and ground wood free paper.

Ground wood paper includes lignin, which is the ingredient that, as paper gets older, causes paper to get brittle and turn yellow. Ground wood free paper, according to tests, may last 200-400 years. The other main difference between these two types of paper is that ground wood paper uses most of the tree. Ground wood free paper only uses about 50% of the tree, making it more expensive to make. Lignins are broken down chemically during the manufacturing process.

The other important thing to know about paper manufacturing is that hard wood and soft wood are not all mixed together – they each get added at different parts of the process.

For me, the most interesting part of what Janet said was how big of a market paper is for the US economy. Few other markets in the world offer as high a quality of paper as we do. Paper is a major exports. The problem is that few foreign manufacturers pay adequate attention to keeping hardwood and softwood separate. This results in a less dependable quality of paper.

Janet’s other major point  was about recycling. Ground wood free paper and ground wood paper aren’t separated out during the recycling process. This limits the quality of paper that can be made from recycled paper products. Newspapers, sticky notes, staples and cheap paper products are mixed in with paper that is ground wood free – meaning that the recycled paper is NOT ground wood free; it also mixes hardwood and softwood – again creating a lower quality paper.

The ‘best’ part is our government – companies don’t receive any benefits for recycling paper products not sold to consumers. So all those books that a publishing company has sitting in it’s warehouse, that it doesn’t sell … there is no encouragement for companies to recycle them.

The Newest Market

March 17, 2008

Publishers everywhere are trying to figure out how to ‘get into’ the new media market. E books, blogs, etc. are attracting new generations of readers and in some cases replacing the role books used to play in our society. The best example is probably sites like dictionary.com – who used to go to college without a dictionary? Now students just hop online; who needs the physical book

It’s like Alexandra Erin, who maintains Pagesunbound.com said, “it’s a very simple equation: if money is being lost to free content, then that’s where the money is.

Today on Booksquare there is a great article. It states that contrary to the panic-position that less people are reading, the newer generations may actually be reading more. Included in the article are some ways that publishers are seriously behind – markets that are being run by fans and fanatics, rather then being exploited by publishers.

The position she doesn’t consider is that from a publisher’s view point, as long as the sites exist they are free advertising. The moment publishers create similar sites they are suddenly paying someone to run the site and adding to their own workload, and the sites are rarely create a direct form of income. Production departments across the board are looking at these sites and trying to generate buzz about their work on them; at least the major publishers are, so they are aware that those markets exist. But I think that their lack of direct involvement in the creation of such sites shows that they don’t believe that running the sites themselves (or similar sites) would actually generate more profit.

That’s is the biggest problem with the internet from a big business viewpoint – how do you use it to make money? The web requires giving away the content that you traditionally generated revenue from.

When that dilemma is  solved, I think we will see an immediate surge of publishing companies jumping feet first into the virtual world.

Newspaper Project

March 7, 2008

I recently had the opportunity to act a project manager for the production of a 21 page newspaper. The paper, a project for my Writing for the Media Class, involved coordinating 7 classmates, who were each editor of their own section and responsible for submitting 2-3 stories for each other’s sections.

The majority of the students in our group were international students; we wanted to use this to our advantage so we choose to write a paper targeted towards the international base on Manhattanville’s campus.

My group choose me to be the project manger; I was responsible for setting deadlines for the project, which we had a little under 2 weeks to complete. As part of the group, I was also responsible for generating 3 articles of my own.

Our first group meeting we decided on sections, designated who would edit each section, and began to generate article ideas. The next meeting we came up with our title: Beyond Boarders. We discussed layout and decided on the number of columns, etc. For ideas we turned to the campus paper, The Touchstone, and looked at the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Publishing the paper did not go as smoothly as we might have hoped. It took quite a bit of force feeding on my part to make everyone meet their deadlines.

In addition to being project manager, I was responsible for the layout of the paper. I created the paper in Quark Xpress. The final paper is attached below; it takes a long time to download since it is so long, but in the end it came out really well and the project got an A.

Beyond Borders