We talk a lot about digital transformation at IndustryWeek, pointing out the opportunities and challenges facing manufacturers as they adopt modern tools to approach centuries-old processes. Truly transforming operations is often difficult and painful, yet it remains necessary to stay relevant.
Like the industries that we cover, IndustryWeek has undergone a massive digital transformation. Once strictly a print magazine, we were early adopters of the Internet, putting our news and features on a website in the mid-’90s, branching out into webinars a few years later and reaching thousands of new readers through email newsletters.
Printing a magazine has become a smaller and smaller portion of our output every year. Once a weekly publication, we only mailed out four issues last year. The overwhelming majority of our audience now reaches us digitally.
Those trends, coupled with rising prices for paper and postage, forced us to make a decision. This will be the last print edition of IndustryWeek.
To be clear, IndustryWeek remains. We will continue writing and publishing great stories. This change will lower some costs for us, but we have expanded our editorial team this year and will continue to bring useful, in-depth information to the manufacturing world.
While ending print is a major change, most of our audience and our advertisers made that transition long ago. The overwhelming majority of you read our material on our website or in daily and weekly newsletters. Major advertisers have told us that they have corporate policies against advertising in print, yet they support our digital efforts.
For those of us who love the visual flair of magazine pages or the tactile feel of paper in our hands, the news is bittersweet. It’s also the end of a legacy. IndustryWeek and its predecessor brands have been in print since 1882 as Iron Review (1882 to 1888), Iron Trade Review (1888 to 1930), Steel (1930 to 1970) and IndustryWeek (since 1970).
My promise to our audience is to make this the beginning of a great new era, not the end of one.
A year from now, I want to be able to stand in front of people and explain that ending the time-consuming, expensive print magazine freed up resources to dig deeper with our reporting and do great new things.
We’ve already begun several initiatives. Every other week, our live Production Pulse interview program will livestream on IndustryWeek.com and our social media channels, giving audience members a chance to hear from newsmakers. We also have plans to offer career advice to people beginning their journeys in the manufacturing world, as well as news-driven webinars and interactive features that will give our audience more of a voice in what we do.
Our editorial production schedule now calls for us to produce in-depth feature articles constantly throughout the year, rather than concentrating them into print issues. If we successfully stick to our plans, we will have produced significantly more material by the end of 2023 than we did in 2022.
We will continue to hold the annual IndustryWeek Best Plants Awards, recognizing manufacturing excellence. Other long-standing programs, most notably the IndustryWeek U.S. 500 list of the largest publicly traded manufacturing companies in the country, will get more resources. Expect big changes to this year’s list (more news on that coming soon).
So, I bid a fond farewell to the paper version of IndustryWeek. And, I’m looking forward to seeing what this amazing staff of editors can accomplish in the days and years ahead.
IndustryWeek's Robert Schoenberger can be reached at [email protected].