The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 47, November 18, 2007, Article 8


Last week I wrote that Coin World's "massive 150-foot long
press which produced the publication for over thirty years
has finally been retired."

Tom DeLorey writes: "I read this with mixed emotions, because
when I started my numismatic career by going to work for
Coin World in December of 1973, they were already building
the modern plant out on the edge of town designed around
this 'state-of-the-art' printing press, which began operation
in May of 1974. Now it is obsolete. Perhaps so am I."

Coin World Editor Beth Deisher writes: "I was somewhat amused
that you describe the new format of Coin World as a surprise.
We published a top-of-the-page story on Page 5 of our Oct. 8
issue that contained extensive details of the coming changes,
noting even in the headlines that the new format would makes
its debut Nov. 19. I also wrote an editorial in that issue
about the coming changes.

"For the record, we are using a new font, but the point
size of the type is the same as the previous format. (In our
testing, people thought it easier to read than the old
body-type font.) The trim size of the publication makes it
seem smaller, when in fact page image size really is not
dramatically different. The old format (10 1/2 by 12-inch)
had an inch of white space at the top and a half inch on
each side and the bottom so that the old newspaper press
could "grip" the paper to keep it rolling on the press.

That gave us a live image size of 9 1/2 by 10 5/8. Virtually
every inch of the new size 8 1/2 by 10 5/8 can be used because
the new press allows us to bleed for the full live image. The
big bonus is the availability of color on every page and an
upgrade in the quality of the newsprint paper. And oh yes,
this is a heat-seal press, so you should never experience
ink rub from reading the new Coin World format."

[Thanks for the background.  I did write that "readers got
a surprise" with the latest issue, but I know the change had
been in the works for a while.  Despite the pre-change publicity,
I'm sure a number of readers were caught by surprise nevertheless.
It will be interesting to read the readers' reactions in
subsequent issues.  -Editor]

Beth adds: "One other tid-bit -- for the trivia minded --
is that the paper is actually heavier and whiter than the
old newsprint. Previously it was a 27-lb. newsprint, whereas
the new is 33-lb. I was fascinated to learn that the new
press actually shaves the paper to make the surface smooth
before it enters the section that actually does the printing.
The shaving is done in part to make the images crisper and
to make the ink application more even.  Printing technology
has changed more in the last 40 more than all of previous
printing history!

I count myself as extremely lucky because these changes
have happened literally before my eyes. I began my career
in 1969 when newspapers where still being produced on "hot
metal" presses -- when newspapers where put together with
linotype operators setting the type line by line on metal
slugs and the pages where "composed" on a "turtle," which
was formed into a zinc plate for the presses. (No computers
involved in any stage of the process -- from writing to
newspaper press.) Now we work in a completely digital

Dick Johnson, founding editor of Coin World writes: "The
first issue of Coin World in its new format arrived this
week. It is official now. Coin World is no longer a newspaper.
It is a magazine.

"The trend at Coin World had been headed in this direction
for some time. Have you noticed the decline of 'hard news'
stories and their placement?  There is a tidal wave of
decline among all newspapers across the nation -- predominantly
in circulation -- and a rise of 'niche' magazines. Perhaps
this was an influential factor.  I am certain there were
many factors that drove this decision as well.

"I am certain there were many factors that drove this decision.
One is economic, another is newsstand appearance, a third is
full color. Obviously a strong factor was to increase readership.
The official company line was stated by editor Beth Deisher
in her editorial on page 14 of the new issue.  The press that
had been printing Coin World for 33 years had served its life
expectancy.  It is now printed on a new press (Beth didn't
mention whether this press was in-house or off-site).

"The shift to magazine format at Coin World was gradual in
recent years. The most obvious decision was to put the
contents on page 3. Traditionally this was a high readership
page for news of somewhat lesser importance that didn't make
page 1 (in news parlance this is called 'pee-one.') Fifty
years ago, it seems, the news articles were ranked by their
appearance -- the closer to the front, the more important
the story. There was news on pages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with
news in that order.

"Advertisers knew this and demanded 'up front' positioning.
Shortly a full page ad appeared on page 2. News stories were
pushed further back in the 'book' (again news parlance, any
printed publication is called a 'book,' whatever format).

"In examining the first issue of the new Coin World format
I find only two news articles on page 1. In the past -- and
in larger newspaper format -- there were as many as eight
with 'carry over' of stories to an inside page.  (Both page
1 articles were carried over here.) The rest of the news
articles appear on pages 4, 5, and 10 in the new issue.

"The continued success of Coin World will depend upon on
Beth Deisher and her staff to keep up a high quality of
editorial content.  Step up news gathering. When was the
last time you received a call from anyone in the Coin World
editorial department asking 'Hey, what's new?'

"To me there is a dearth of dealer news. Perhaps this is
somewhat coin dealers' own fault. They don't know what is
news, they don't know how to write it up, and they don't
know got to get it published. This is where staff writers
need to call and pry out the news. 'Have you bought a
large collection lately? Have you discovered a new variety?
What are your plans for your next sale, auction? What's
happening in your business?'

"Likewise, numismatic organizations need to be a little
more proactive.  Assign one person to be contact with the
numismatic press. If he or she can write, that's excellent.
If they have journalism experience that's even better.
But just because someone can send news via email doesn't
make them the best spokesperson for your organization.
Don't necessarily make your computer guy the press contact
- he lives in a digital world and speaks a different language.

"Beth Deisher -- I know you are overworked with three new
publications -- put in for a raise! But you now have the
capability to do something really outstanding with the new
Coin World format, with new color capability and new
printing technology. I know you can do it. And make Coin
World something I could never have envisioned!"

Dick adds: "Tell Tom DeLorey he is obsolete only if he
stops writing.  He compiled an excellent catalog of Tom
Elder medals in 1980 that is still the standard work."


  Wayne Homren, Editor

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