Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Visions of Prepress

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Visions of Prepress

Article excerpt

The word on the street was that Seybold Seminars in Boston -- a publishing technology showcase that only five years ago was little more than a collection of tabletop exhibits in a hotel ballroom, barely accommodated a trade show and conferences at the Hynes Convention Center this time around.

The new owners of Seybold Seminars, the international conglomerate Softbank Expos, has accordingly scheduled the annual Boston gathering for a much larger venue in 1997: New York City's Jacob Javits Convention Center.

It's unlikely anybody would dispute that Seybold's growth reflects the growth of the publishing industry. In fact, the gathering makes a case for redefining publishing, as everything related to the acquisition and distribution of information content has become the province of the publishing business. The difference is that there are new ways to define information exchange, and new ways to deliver information, mainly to computers.

Recent criticism of Seybold's San Francisco and Boston meetings has centered on the seeming preoccupation with all things Internet. However, it behooves one of the industry's most respected observers to give voice to the diversity of views being debated. Seybold is not alone in this effort. Boston-based Northeast Consulting Resources Inc. finds it necessary to reassess publishing trends every six months, in a seminar series entitled, "Mapping the Future of Information Commerce."

The good news for newspapers is that at this year's Seybold Seminars, the exhibition floor was noticeably skewed toward print and prepress, and there were suggestions during the sessions that publishing in the future will be a more realistic combination of print and new media.

Even Nicholas Negroponte, the celebrated MIT researcher and author of the new media bible Being Digital, is suggesting a U-turn, according to his colleague, Walter Bender.

Describing the "Negroponte pretzel," Bender said that rather than abandon atoms and adopt bits, as Negroponte has proposed, NU Media Lab researchers are now submitting that the future will be comprised of both bits and atoms; or, as Bender said, "a nice marriage between traditional electronic and new media."

The realities of new media cannot be ignored, however. John Warnock, chairman and CEO of Adobe Systems, noted that the United States has passed two extraordinary milestones this year: the volume of electronic mail surpassed paper mail, and communications lines are used more for data than voice. …

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