Magazine article Editor & Publisher

NAA, IFRA Pursue Projects

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

NAA, IFRA Pursue Projects

Article excerpt

"I FIRMLY BELIEVE that if we join forces, we can serve the industry much better than either organization alone." At the very least, "it's helped avoid duplication" From late last winter, the respective remarks of IFRA's Gunther Bottcher and NAA's Eric Wolferman reflected the continuing interest and optimism both parties brought to a May meeting and another at last month's Nexpo in New Orleans.

Wolferman, Newspaper Association of America senior vice president of technology, said that although not planned as an annual event, the spring meeting with IFRA, the international association for newspaper and media technology, "appears to be timing into that?

Shortly before he and his staff met with their counterparts from Darmstadt-based IFRA (who had their own Nexpo booth), Wolferman outlined ideas, plans and the status of projects, both pending and approved.

Later in the day, E&P caught up with Bottcher for comments on cooperative efforts and the outcome of proposals made at the meeting.

A separately announced undertaking was the formation of the International Newspaper Color Quality Club (E&P, June 28, p. 38). It expands the primarily European IFRA Color Quality Club while promoting the NAA Color Quality Initiative, both of which seek consistency in reproduction quality-- press to press, newspaper to newspaper.

"We will try to expand this" worldwide, with NAA playing an equal role, Bottcher said earlier in the year.

Acknowledging that IFRA had been "after us for some time" to make the club a joint program, Wolferman said,"We thought there was some merit to it."

Last year, among the 26 newspapers that measured up for admission, the Cleveland Plain Dealer became the club's first U.S. member (E&P, Nov. 23, p. 19).

Not run as a contest, membership recognizes that a paper reaches or exceeds a required score in objective and subjective analyses of its color reproduction. NAA newspaper services director Tom Croteau worked with IFRA on the measureable objective analysis. For subjective evaluation, said Wolferman, the two organizations also cooperated in putting together a panel of judges from both sides of the Atlantic.

Because it involves so much time and work, said Wolferman, the club's entrance exam is a biennial affair, with announcements of new members alternating between the IFRA Congress and Expo and the NAA Nexpo.

Those admitted after evaluation late this year will be announced the following October at IFRA 98, in Lyon, France (and recognized a few months later at NAA's January SuperConference). Successful 1999 applicants will be recognized at Nexpo 2000 in San Francisco and later at IFRA in Stockholm.

NAA and IFRA concluded their best-practices project for newsprint waste control last year and finished a computer-to-plate study earlier this year. Conducted by Plain Dealer quality assurance manager Tony Adeshina, for whom Wolferman had high praise, the study is now being edited.

Bottcher said it will be published in September for industrywide sale. (Adeshina gave an interim report at the SuperConference and briefly outlined his findings during a Nexpo workshop.)

At their Nexpo meeting, NAA and IFRA representatives agreed that product]on effectiveness measurement will be their next joint project--one that Wolferman said he expected the International Technical Affairs Committee to approve. It will examine the sorts of statistics and elements that are meaningful to newspapers in benchmarking their production performance.

Bottcher said the result probably would be a database open to all for a relatively small fee. While lacking the precision of true benchmarking, he said, it would provide index data from different countries pulled together from various existing sources.

The first step, according to Wolferman, is finding out what kind of information already is being collected. …

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