Volume 36, Issue 5, May  2001


a message from the publisher

Dan Rather may have had it right, especially with respect to the glass industry. Not that I am a particularly huge fan of the CBS newscaster, but one thing he said during an interview a few years ago rings true. When asked about the development of a particular story (whether it be the O.J. story, Jon-Benet, or the Lewinsky matter) into a feeding frenzy, Rather made a strong point. He said that technology has changed everything. Years ago, people got their news from a morning and afternoon newspaper, and maybe a little from one of three TV news broadcasts. Today, most cable systems offer eight to ten news channels, many of them 24 hours-a-day, and newspapers have been supplemented by instantaneous reporting on the World Wide Web.

Rather thought the proliferation of space—on the air, in print and on the Web, has led to increased competition for a story or a new angle on “the” story to help fill all that space up. To paraphrase him, “24 hours is nothing when you are live at the scene of a natural disaster, but it is interminable when you’ve got no big news.” So, today, I think the media is guilty of creating a big story when one does not otherwise exist. Was it merely a coincidence that all the talk about the economy began just about the time we no longer had Bill Clinton’s ... uh ... hobbies ... to discuss? How long would the economy have remained in the headlines had the first tourist in space had any difficulty there?

It’s true, economic indicators are down a bit, and interest rates have been lowered in adjustment, but beyond the energy situation, I just don’t see the dire predictions coming to be. With the exception of the primary manufacturers, everyone—and I mean everyone—in the industry with whom I talk says the same thing: “Gee, it may be getting tough other places, but we are still okay, we are still doing well. I don’t know how long it will last, but we are doing great. I almost don’t want to talk about it because I’ll jinx it.”

This has been true in all my conversations with all segments of the industry and in all areas of the country. But then again, if the big story was that the economy was still healthy, it wouldn’t fill up nearly as much space or sell nearly as many newspapers.
How long it will last is anyone’s guess. But the next time Dan Rather and his cronies try to tell you how bad it is, take a look at your own P&L, your own backlog or any of your own personal economic indicators and wonder how much air time those doing the telling had to fill. 


P.S. : Yesterday, our company, Key Communications Inc., was notified that it had been awarded the prestigious American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best New Magazine in the country for our publication AGRR: the magazine driving the auto glass repair and replacement industry. AGRR won on a regional basis and then went on to win the national award as well. It’s quite an honor for all of us here, and I (with just a tinge of pride), wanted to share the news with you. If you are in the auto glass business and would like to receive AGRR free of charge, you can order your copy online by visiting http://www.glass.com and clicking “services to the industry.” Thanks for your support.


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